Close encounters of the AAA kind


Need caregiver resources because you’re worried about Grandma’s mental health but don’t know if she needs adult day care or home care and whether she has financial resources, insurance or transportation to get there? You could be clicking all bloody day.

I have little to no faith in local government. The DMV … the city planning department … the county court system … I’ve had run-ins with them all. I knew there was a local aging-related agency, but if getting help with Grandma was anything like renewing my car tags or jumping through the hoops to get child support it didn’t seem worth the trouble.

That was before Grandma started forgetting her grandchildren’s names and how to turn the lamp off. Now that I’m worried she’ll forget something like the no-metal-in-the-microwave rule, contacting the Area Agency on Aging suddenly seemed like a great idea.

I started with an Internet search. There’s plenty of information — about a gazillion links worth — many of them on pastel web sites with exclamation-pointed links. Senior Directory & Resource Hub! Helpful Caregiver Resources! Keyword repetition is important, but when everything’s a resource, nothing’s a resource. It’s not really SEO friendly, but I could’ve used a link like Call us when Grandma finally jumps the shark.

Last Friday I gave up the web site search and found a number to call. A day of phone tag later I finally got to speak in person with Stacey. After a brief explanation of Grandma’s health and my concerns, she recommended an intake interview with an agency specialist who could suggest appropriate — you guessed it — resources. She told me she’d take down Grandma’s information and get it to the right person. It sounded better than clicking on more confusing links so I agreed.

Stacey was very nice. She asked the questions you’d expect, such as Grandma’s age, her health issues, what she needs help with, etc. If anything Stacey overexplained. When she asked for Grandma’s address she added, “Now that’s going to be the same as your address since she lives with you.” Holy crap she thought I was the confused 88-year-old! It’s probably hard to go back and forth between caregivers and the elderly so I cut her some slack and gave her the information.

Stacey promised someone would call back Monday, and someone did. “Jennifer” tried to set up an appointment for Angie to talk to me about Grandma’s situation but our schedules didn’t jibe so Jennifer was going to talk to Meagan to see if she’s available to talk with me. I sincerely believe the AAA is trying to help, but when I hung up I couldn’t help wondering if I should’ve stuck with their site.

Maybe I’ll learn more when Meagan checks in this Friday. If she directs me to their web site I don’t know whether I’ll laugh or cry.

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