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Monday, August 1, 2011

Cloverdale Comments

Services provided by the Sonoma County Area Agency on Aging (AAA)

Are you:
  • Caring for an aging or disabled adult?
  • Likely to become a caregiver?
  • Worried about your own aging?
  • Unsure of the right questions, let alone the answers?

If you said “Yes!” even once, you really need to check out all the help available at Sonoma County Area Agency on Aging (AAA). 

Caregiving can wear you out and wear you down. So can worry, confusion, and denial. Don’t wait. Don’t risk making serious mistakes that could irreversibly harm you and/or someone you love. 

It’s quick, simple and so reassuring to start learning about, and tapping into, a range of accessible resources via AAA’s website ( or their free Senior Resource Guide that’s distributed around Sonoma County at government offices, libraries, senior centers, etc.

INSIDER’S TIP: While the Guide’s 50 or so pages cover resources of interest and value to the aging adults (60 and older), disabled younger adults (19 and older) and their family caregivers who make up AAA’s primary focus, it is also chock-full of information on great resources for everyone else including consumers, students and folks seeking free or low-cost health, financial and legal services.
AAA “101”
Created by the Older Americans Act, AAA is one of 33 similar statewide and 675 nationwide agencies. A unit of local government and a program of the Sonoma County Health and Human Services Department, AAA operates that agency’s Adult and Aging Division.

Along with its all-volunteer, 21-member Advisory Council (which includes 2 appointees from each Supervisorial District), AAA works hand-in-hand with the community and other groups to achieve the critically important goals of improving access to transportation resources as well as home and community-based services and affordable housing, while increasing public awareness of health and social services.

They also review pending legislation and regulations and advocate with lawmakers.   
While you look around the AAA website, visit the “Publications” page for ready-to-use, step-by-step guidance on common and special issues and concerns, whether about an aging or disabled adult or caregiver.  

I was especially impressed with “Face the Facts” and “Let’s Talk”. Using clear, unbiased yet insightful checklists, they sensitively spell out the often difficult questions and topics that need to be fully covered with aging parents.

Then, too, whether or not we are or will become caregivers, thanks to resources like AAA, I’ve come to understand that each of us should address these questions and topics as we, ourselves, age. 
Elder & Dependent Adult Abuse            
I caught up recently with former Cloverdale City Council Member Gail Pardini-Plass, a representative for Sup. District 4, serving her second “gratifying” term on the AAA Advisory Council with the same energy and dedication she has brought to elected office and to volunteer work for varied organizations including our Chamber of Commerce, the Wallace House Shelter and the California Senior Legislature. 

We talked extensively about the fact that each year close to 250,000 elder and dependent adult Californians are victims of some type of mistreatment, including self-neglect.

Saddened by the reminder that this type of physical, emotional and financial injury is a nationwide crisis, I was sickened to learn that a staggering 70% of Sonoma County’s suspected abusers are family members, with the rest being paid caregivers or others.

Gail, who is working with related AAA committees and projects, comforted me by detailing the emphasis they are placing on abuse prevention, detection and solutions while also reminding me of the variety of their community outreach efforts to help keep us all informed and safe.   

To find practical even life-saving information, including the warning signs of “Elder Abuse”, check AAA’s Home Page. Look, too, for the essential guide “Hiring An In-Home Caregiver” (also on the Home Page under “Publications”) with tips on screening, interviewing and managing.

Learn More
To discover all the programs and opportunities contact: AAA, So. Co. Health & Human Services Dept., Adult & Aging Div.; 3725 Westwind Blvd., Suite 101, Santa Rosa, 95403; Call 565-5950;