By Robin Bush, Outreach Director, Island Senior Resources
A few weeks ago, I went to my high school reunion. Before I flew out to the east coast, I had been wondering, “What would any of us have in common? What could we talk about?” We all started with the obvious, “What have you been doing?” I told them I was Outreach Director for Island Senior Resources, that provides resources for seniors, adults with disabilities, and those who care for them. All being the same age with elderly parents meant this subject was rich, common ground for sharing.
They’d say, “I just spent the last five years helping my mother” or, “My dad’s so overwhelmed being mom’s caregiver.” I’d start to tell them how we provide Meals on Wheels, an adult day program, Medical Transportation, Aging & Disability Resources, community meals and before I could get through the list, they would stop me, amazed, and say, “You provide all that?” I’d continue. “We also have classes, Medicare assistance, legal consults, a medical device lending closet, social opportunities, and a lot more.” Word traveled quickly through my classmates. I was never the “popular’ kid in high school, but this time around, it seemed everyone wanted to talk to me. They’d tell me stories of the challenges they’d experienced or were in the midst of, with their parents. None of them could believe there was any community that provided such comprehensive services. “If only we had that in our town; my life and the lives of my parents would be so much better!” they’d say.
As the plane lifted off from the New York airport, my lasting impression from the reunion was what a unique place I was coming home to. We take care of each other here. We could be a model for other counties of what is possible when we are all engaged in supporting the way we want our community to be. Hopefully, some of my classmates will return to their communities and describe what they heard is happening here. What we have is truly special.