A Little Ray of Sunshine

Friday, February 25, 2005

Pissed at the Gas Company (for helping Big Brother)

Italics are my opinions and additions interspersed.
Included with my gas bill is a pamphlet: The Gatekeeper Program. Or, how you can screw up the life of an elderly person living near you.
"Gatekeeper is a program designed to bridge the gap between needy elderly and social service agencies."
Excerpted from "Situations/Signals that would indicate a referral to the Area Agency on Aging".
Recent loss through death of relative/friend
Death of pet(s)
Continual life review/reminiscing
Loss of hearing, sight
Low income
Lack of social relationships
Person living alone over age 75

(There are many others, some of which I would suggest occasion a call to a relative of the person, such as chronic physical illness and unable to go outside to grocery or drug store.)

"If you observe any combination of these signals, a call needs to be placed to the Area Agency on Aging. If the individual in need is unable or unwilling to call, please make the call for them. You can request to remain anonymous.
"When making a referral to the AREA AGENCY ON AGING, please include the following information:
name of the elderly person
phone number (if possible)
"reason" you feel the person needs help"

You are supposed to call the Southeast Idaho Council of Governments. The address would indicate that it is near or in the County Courthouse.

Is it just me that has a problem with this? I think I need to ask my elderly next-door-neighbor if she does. She's lived in her home for 65 years, and raised her three kids there. She's lived alone for over ten years since her husband died. Let's see, she lives alone, she's certainly over 75 (unless she was under ten when she married and moved there) she reminisces all the time, and she's hard of hearing. It usually takes yelling "Hello" three times before she responds. Lately, she hasn't been around much, she's been over at her daughter's place helping her daughter recover from chemotherapy.
This scares me. We're supposed to call, anonymously, if we "observe any combination of these signals". So now, if you're elderly, you better not trust anyone. Oh, wait, that might lead to "lack of social relationships" and get you informed on. This is just screwed up.


  • At 7:43 AM, February 26, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I appreciate that they are trying to help in the sense that, yes the elderly do die in severe heat or severe cold at a much higher rate than anyone else, but you've got to be kidding me! Can't you just be encouraged to be neighborly and check in on them once in a while? Sheesh.


  • At 11:20 AM, February 27, 2005, Blogger BoysMom said…

    When I was little, we had an elderly friend from church. She had never married and was not close to any of her surviving neices and nephews, physically or emotionally. Mom and her friends always took this lady about when she needed to go places and made sure her needs were met. That's the model I'd rather see used if there are no family members available to help. Of course, that doesn't involve the government, so it seems to be unacceptable now.


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