senior health and safety


img_5461In my job I see homes all over Alameda.  One of the homes I visited recently was a lovely home valued at over a million dollars on the lagoon.  It was festooned with imported Italian pottery and beautiful rugs.

Theoretically, the actual owner of the house may have qualified for my program, she just didn’t have the paperwork to verify it.  Although her home is amazing, she is on a fixed income and at 86 years of age, with a variety of chronic disease complaints (and probably the medications that go with them) no one in the Fire Department really wants her to climb a ladder.

It was her sister who rubbed me the wrong way.

“Why do all these immigrants come here and get everything for free!  We worked hard our whole lives, we should get some assistance!”

I explained my program is subsidized by HUD and that the Federal government requires that I verify their income to see if they qualify for this free service.  I explained that how all government programs work.

“If people can verify that they qualify, then they get stuff for free.”  I asked her once again for her documents which she could not produce.

In the end, I asked if she would like me to replace her smoke detector for a fee.  When it is obvious that a senior needs assistance we can install them free of a service charge but they must pay for the smoke detector at cost.

She did, and I did.

I was annoyed because she made a big deal about being Italian, how nice it was that I was Italian, and how her parents came from Italy as if that was some big important thing.  I just stood there with my mouth open.  Can she really not see that she is the child of immigrants?  Didn’t she hear family stories of how difficult it was for Italians back in the day?  Why is she so angry at other immigrants?  Too much Fox news I suppose.

Look in the mirror, lady.  The problem is you.  You are the one who wants stuff for free.  You are the entitled one.