Transportation is, of course, not the only public service that is provided to older adults who have difficulties getting around and managing their affairs. Many older people who continue to live in their own homes need assistance in personal care activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, eating, getting in and out of bed and chairs, walking, going outside, and using the toilet. Also required is assistance in instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), such as preparing meals, shopping for personal items, managing money, using the telephone, and doing light or heavy housework (Dawson, Hendershot, & Fulton, 1987).
Among the government-sponsored programs that provide assistance to older Americans are Meals on Wheels, which delivers meals to the home at modest cost, and Aids to the Elderly, which provides help with personal care matters, in addition to light housework and cooking. Additional assistance is provided by Handyman and homemaker services, telephone reassurance service, and the Friendly Visitor Program. In most communities, police, public utility workers, and other concerned workers who make frequent visits to the residences of elderly people are taught to be alert to signs that help is needed and to report their observations and/or provide direct assistance.
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