The Pocono Mountains is a well known resort area, as well as an increasingly popular retirement destination for many who have had vacation homes here during their younger years. As such, there are cultural events galore, entertainment venues to suit all tastes, restaurants, shopping, casinos, social clubs and religious opportunities for all. Just because a person’s mobility might be limited due to difficulty walking or having to give up driving doesn’t mean they have to forego the kinds of things that drew them to the Poconos in the first place, including taking a ride to enjoy the beautiful scenery! We are also fortunate to have many services especially aimed at seniors, due to the much higher than average percentage of residents over 65 in Pennsylvania, second only to Florida. There are a number of Senior Centers and many Senior Clubs, all of which can be found by contacting the local Area Agency on Aging. There are also numerous volunteer opportunities available to all through the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, some of which require only a ride to the location, and which can be very rewarding, and help a person feel needed and important. And remember, while mom is at bingo, the caregiver can be grocery shopping!
Many resorts and festivals offer free or discounted admissions for our elders, such as the Skytop/Buckhill Music Festival that offered free tickets to dance performances this summer, and the Shawnee Playhouse which does the same at times throughout the year for plays of special appeal for seniors. Our local East Stroudsburg University has numerous free concerts and performances during the year, as do the local retirement communities. Anyone wishing to attend these events need only make that known to their Care Coordinator, and a ride with a caregiver can be arranged. Many Griswold Pocono Mountains caregivers have commented that they enjoy accompanying their clients on social outings, and learn a lot themselves in the process.
As mentioned earlier, by arranging for a caregiver to take you or your loved one for outings, the limited stimulation available to those who have been remaining at home alone can be prevented, thus preventing boredom and depression, and increasing the joy that makes life worth living. Even the most simple things, like an old fashioned Sunday drive, or going for ice cream can brighten a person’s day considerably.
Another opportunity is all of the educational opportunities available in the Poconos, from environmental groups to religious programs. This office sponsors workshops about various topics of interest to the older adult and their families, such as “Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s” and “Helping Those with Hearing Loss” that are also directed to Griswold professional caregivers, increasing their skills as well. Even adults with disabilities can enjoy many such events since the requirement for ramps and handicapped restrooms in public places has made access so much easier. Even the truly home-bound and bed-bound can benefit from the presence of a friendly caregiver who can play games or read to them, write dictated cards, go through (or help create!) photo albums, play old records or simply encourage reminiscing and storytelling.
As Director, I also offer talks about various topics at Senior Centers, Retirement Communities, and meetings of groups like AARP. I also sit on several boards of community groups and volunteer time to improve opportunities for residents of the Pocono Mountains, as well as for my own satisfaction at giving back to the community in which I live and grow older!