by Gay Nell Jenkins, MiCAFE Network Partner Liaison
I first met Ms. H when I went to her home to complete her SNAP application. Ms. H., a homebound senior in her mid-seventies, has multiple health issues that she is being treated for. Her home is located in a blighted area of Detroit and when you turn onto her street, you can see blight and overgrown grass where homes use to be.
On my first visit to her home, her grass was in need of a cut and a large tree’s branches were hanging on her roof and needed to be trimmed. During this visit, Ms. H shared with me that she a fire occurred in her home in October of last year, but that the company she contracted with took her check and has not completed the work. Further, her daughter took her Social Security check of $522, cashed it, and would not give her money back. Once inside her home, I discovered Ms. H had fallen and had a huge bump on her forehead. When I asked her what happen, she said “I fell and hit my head and I am always falling.” I called Area Agency on Aging to report this and asked if she could get some in-home services. Additionally, her mortgage was behind and foreclosure was imminent, so I connected Ms. H with a house services agency for assistance.
On my second visit with Ms. H, I discovered bed bugs everywhere and that I had been bitten on the first visit, which I didn’t recognize until now. We were on her front porch and I could see the bugs on her and the chair she was sitting in. I worked to connect Ms. H with an exterminator, but she could not afford to pay the lowest rate. During my last conversation with her, she stated that she and a friend were working with some to get rid of the bugs.
In my service to seniors, I frequently hear about or see the situations and conditions that seniors live in or are experiencing. Overall, seniors are more likely to experience abuse and neglect from family members. This saddens me and I do my best to share the resources that will best help them in their current situation and pray that the help they need find them.