On Friday, when I returned home about 4:30 pm, my neighbor’s newspaper was still in front of her door. My neighbor is in her early eighties, she has balance problems and trouble walking. Worried, I called her and got her voicemail. I called down to the garage and was told her car was in place. Now I was really worried and didn’t know what to do. I called the president of the condo board. His wife said they would go into the apartment when he returns home in about 45 minutes. More than an hour later we finally went into the apartment and, happily, found no one there, dispelling my nightmare vision of finding B on the floor. The newspapers are piling up; B has not returned. The last time she went away she told me beforehand and I took care of the papers. I will do so tonight and leave a note for her. That’s not the problem.
We have a large number of elders in our building reflecting the population of Pittsburgh. There should be some sort of protocol for watching out for each other and not waiting for the condo president. I don’t have the answer; maybe there isn’t a good one, but I keep thinking about it. I don’t want to be the one on the floor waiting to be found.
When my friend Dorothy became really frail, we used windowshades as signals every day. When she moved, she didn’t set up a safety net. She had a stroke and fell then laid there for days. My friend Duck was able to call after he fell, and one of his friends got him to the hospital. One of those emergency call devices would have been of great use in both cases. Press a button and some one would come.