I stopped in at Target last week to pick up a couple of things for the house and happened to walk past their seasonal section which was chock full of Halloween candy and decorations. My first thought was, “Halloween already? What happened to Labor Day?” My second thought was, “If I buy Halloween candy now, how much will remain by October 31st?” When I was a kid Halloween couldn’t come fast enough but now Halloween signifies the first slip on the holiday season slope that whisks us to the New Year in a dizzying tornado of activity. My have things changed!
Thinking about Halloween reminds me of the haunted house my wife and I visited while at the Minnesota State Fair last month. For four dollars each we had the pleasure of wandering through a creepy old house full of macabrely decorated rooms and frightening characters in revolting costumes who would jump out at us from among the shadows at every turn. All the classic horror elements were there – low lighting, spooky noises, blood and guts, skeletons, tombstones, screams of terror, even a chainsaw! Although the experience was scary, there was never any doubt (in my mind) that my wife and I would make it out alive.
So where am I going with this, and what does this have to do with RTSF? The answer has it’s genesis in a call I received from Mrs. E in the Sunset. Mrs. E called RTSF and asked if we could provide her with a nightlight. She described for me the very real fear that she felt anytime she tried to visit the bathroom at night. To the average person, this might seem rather benign, but to Mrs. E this was a truly frightening situation. One wrong step, one small miscalculation about where a wall is, or an end table, and Mrs. E could fall and wind up with a broken arm, a broken hip or worse. Mrs. E is not alone. We hear from seniors constantly whose houses, much like a haunted house, are full of dangerous objects and situations: from slippery bathtubs, to stairs without handrails; from dead smoke alarms to trip inducing throw rugs and extension cords. However, unlike a haunted house at an amusement park, these dangers are real and life threatening.
In a previous blog post I wrote about how RTSF was like the Ghostbusters, in that we’re that one group seniors know they can call to help address their unique home safety needs. It seems we might be able to take that analogy one step further, and say that RTSF also clears haunted houses of the fears that plague our seniors, fears that are very real and dangerous, but that can also thankfully be mitigated with simple cost effective solutions by good hearted handy people. Case in point, Mrs. E is now getting along just fine. The ghosts haunting her night time trips to the bathroom have been blasted away.
Just when I think we must have put a grab bar and a smoke detector in every house in San Francisco, another application or referral rolls in. Due to strong demand in the community RTSF surpassed our goal of serving 200 home safety clients during our 2012 program year a month ahead of schedule. In honor of Fall Prevention Month (September) we’re looking to add some new members to our volunteer Safety Squad. For more information about the program and how to get involved contact our office and speak with me or any of my co-workers. Training; guaranteed. Warm fuzzies; guaranteed. Proton pack; not included.