July 4 is right around the corner, a time for celebrating our nation’s independence. The desire to be free to do whatever we want is deeply ingrained in our American history and no state exemplifies this more than California. When we think of elders, independence is not the first word that comes to mind. That is changing though, particularly here in Mill Valley.
The advent of personal computers and cell phones made it possible to shop for virtually anything from home and is a boon for all, particularly for seniors. The 800 pound gorilla is Amazon, but many large stores now offer free or low cost delivery and all the major grocery stores do as well. So even if you cannot get out, you are free to shop independently.
Let’s say you do want to go out. Transportation is another area that has seen dramatic changes. Taxis still exist, but now ride share services, like Uber and Lift, as well as several other specialty providers, including Marin Access and ride services through Vivalon and Mill Valley Village, offer low cost options to get you almost anywhere.
California administers programs through Area Agencies on Aging, Medi-Cal Community Based Adult Services (CBAS) centers and other agencies. These help elders access food, nutrition and exercise classes, housing options, home care, legal services, volunteer opportunities, transportation and more, all designed to help seniors live independently. Locally most of these services are available from the Marin County Aging Division.
Two local groups (Mill Valley Village and Marin CIL’s) are also designed to help people remain independent. If you want more support, independent living apartments (such as those at The Redwoods), provide a soft safety net, programs and services. Assisted Living options start by offering housing, meals, housekeeping, linen service, along with programs and events. Both The Redwoods and Marin Terrace offer this housing option in Mill Valley. For those that need more help, there are PACE Programs that offer medical, dental, eye care, rehabilitation care, home care, nutrition and transportation services on a drop-in basis.
In short, today’s Mill Valley elders have a lot of programs and services to help they stay independent. We’ll be celebrating the 4th of July at The Redwoods, and here’s hoping you celebrate and maintain your independence every day!