Suggestions wanted for starting a Senior Center.

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I'm almost a senior (59) and am part of a family trying to cope with an 85 year old woman who Will. Not. stop certain activities. She was widowed 4 years ago and lives alone in a rural area. Her 4 sons live very near and do help where needed.

Driving: She drives somewhere 4 - 8 times a day. She has really bad eyesight but managed to pass her eye test at the DMV this year, so she's legal for another 7 years. She drifts in her lane constantly and claims that because she doesn't drive fast, if people don't like it, they can go around her. Last week she drifted into a pedestrian walking on the side of the road, hitting the person's arm (which caused bruising) and thankfully not knocking him down. She had heard a sound, stopped up the road and didn't see where anything was wrong, then continued home. They read her license and reported the incident. When my husband came home he saw the sherriff's car at his mother's and was able to get the information from the deputy. She was not charged with hit and run, but does have a court date this coming week to answer for the incident.

She was in tears, very down on herself, remorseful. The next day she got in her car and started out again, basically to go have coffee 2 miles away. She continues even now with multiple trips per day.

Legally no one can take away her license except a police officer or a judge. No one can take away her vehicle or disable it without her permission. When we offer to take over the bills and take her shopping, she agrees and then never asks or tries to set up a time/date (she claims we have our own lives).

Bill Paying: She cannot see to read the printed pages of bills, gets mad, sets something down and immediately loses it. It is phenomenal to watch happen. She absolutely cannot keep her checkbook straight and is incredibly bad about having anyone help her, handing papers to someone and then snatching them away before anyone can read them. Yes, my husband has power of attorney but only when she gives permission for him to use it.

I am positive there are a few people out there right now simply nodding their heads.

There are other issues, but my thought is this: What does it take to get a Senior Center going? We sure are building up a lot of seniors, so how can this be made to work? I'm thinking a senior center will help the Under-Senior Caregivers as well as the Reigning Seniors. A place to centralize, a starting point.

What ideas have worked in other communities? I know it won't happen fast and may not help my MIL, but I'd like to know what might work.

Thanks in advance for suggestions, and maybe we can meet this Senior Life Care Challenge by using our brains :)

6 Comments

I assume you are talking about a day care center. I think it should be open during all possible hours. Most centers aren't even open early enough for full time caregivers to drop off and pick up. And have beds for those who can't sit up all day. I think the intergenerational centers which have both kids and senior and join them for some activites are great so those seniors who don't want to be around "old people" all day. I think nursing, therapist and aide vocational schools should pair with these centers to provide on the job training. search intergenerational daycare to find programs like

I most certainly hope that she isn't driving in my daughters neighborhood. She is my most loved child and has a newborn. Please, please fix it so that she can't drive and ruin someone's life or take a life or two. My husband and I were infertile and worked hard to have a child. Please, life is to precious.
doesn't your area have a public transportatin program for seniors. maybe you can start one instead of day care. look up itnamerica.org
And i hope you inform the local police she is not a safe driver and they should test her and try to get her off the road.
It is quite a task to start a senior center. You have to have so many things and people to lead the activities. If you're looking for something on a smaller scale, I wonder if a church or other civic organization could provide some space so that people could meet and do things like play cards or call Bingo. All it would take is some coffee and other refreshments, tables, chairs, and a supervisor to make sure things are clean (and to call 911 in the event of an emergency).
One note to start, then I'll give you the outcome. I have a new motto:
Non Parentalis Carborundum. (Don't Let Parents Grind You Down)

And here is what inspired it:

The rest of the story:

My husband took his mother to the court date set on her ticket. They signed in, then heard her name called. When they went to speak to the judge, he said "Mrs. S., you are not on the docket for this evening. Did you possibly get the date wrong?" They showed him the ticket which had it printed right on it. He read it, said "Yes, there it is." then excused himself for a moment. He went and had some sort of quiet conversation with someone, returned and said "In the interest of justice, I am dismissing this case. You are free to go."

I almost didn't post this, but truth will kneecap you faster than fiction.

Dismissing the case does not address the problem. I'm hoping the insurance company ups her premiums for being ticketed for not staying in her lane - with an emergency room bill to Xray someone's arm added in.

I am done torturing myself by imagining what could go wrong that hasn't yet. I'll just be ready for the day when she asks for help. Or the day when she really fails and needs care, asking for it or not. You could not ask for a better caregiver for children, or a better caregiver for the elderly in her family than my MIL. I will keep that in mind when we deal with any problem coming, whatever it is. But I won't make it up ahead of time, whatever it is.

But when that problem does come, I plan to go ask the judge to dismiss it.
Has your husband talked with his mother's eye dr? What does the eye dr. say? Maybe the problem is not just her vision. She may not be able to handle driving for other reasons. Talk with her PCP about any physical or mental problems that could be causing this. My sister and I reported our mother to DMV as an unsafe driver due to memory impairment. You can report her anonymously telling them she drifts into other lanes and has now hit a pedestrian. My mother's dr. wouldn't report due to Alzheimer's, but he did fill out the form DMV sent my mother and her licsense has been revoked. Your MIL just may not be able to handle the car due to her age, muscle strength is weak and can't control the car. I certainly wouldn't let it go. Best of luck to you, I hope it gets resolved soon.

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