Friday, June 22 , 2018, 6:05 pm | Partly Cloudy 65º

Your Health
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Rona Barrett: 22 Very Important Words


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead, the controversial but respected intellectual Indiana Jones of cultural anthropology, said it. They are often used as a catalytic call to arms for those inspired to change their world.

A nine-year old North Carolinian with a single cabbage launches a 27-state soup kitchen initiative, Katie’s  Krops, that feeds the hungry.

A wounded helicopter pilot immobilized by PTSD rises up with 50 bucks to mobilize family and friends to deliver backpacks filled with comfort items to his hospitalized comrades and starts the Wounded Warrior Project.

Volunteering at a shoe drive, a shoe salesman puts one and one together to come up with the groundbreaking "buy one give one to the needy" social change philosophy begun by TOMS Shoes.

Right here on our Central Coast we have our own cadre of committed citizens.  

In the past few weeks, more than one mover and shaker has sung praises for DASH: Doctors Assisting Seniors at Home.  

Among its many laurels and awards, our local Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens named DASH "Senior Citizen Program of the Year."

DASH, the brainchild of a dream team of Santa Barbara-based professional caregivers, serves seniors aged 60+ who live in the Santa Barbara or Goleta area.

Paraphrasing their website, DASH "…provides rapid-response medical care to seniors too ill to wait for an office appointment or too weak to get there."

Adding to its overflowing too-good-to-be-true file, DASH is fully covered by Medicare for seniors who live in low-income housing or receive Medi-Cal. For other seniors, DASH is covered in part by Medicare and in part by a minimal monthly fee.

Among its thousands of enrollees, DASH has seen a nearly 40 percent reduction in emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

And of course I (and surely others) am thinking, what about DASH-ing up here to the North County, to our entire Central Coast or even statewide?​

The reality of being a start-up superstar is that it takes passion, perseverance and pesos. At our ages if we still have at least one of those three Ps we should consider ourselves lucky!

But for those of us, especially this time of the year, whose pocketbooks are plucked, or we just don't have the shpilkes (pronounced by Mike Myers as 'SHPEEL-kiss'), we CAN do something that has equal value for do-gooders like DASH.

We can advocate.

To me, advocacy means consistently, constructively and compellingly spreading the word, speaking out, stressing the acute need for a solution and motivating and mobilizing our peers to do the same.

Without leaving our easy chairs, we can pick up our phones or write emails to our local representatives and policy makers and advocate for DASH.

To be an advocate costs nothing, but to not advocate locally for DASH and elder care programs will have costly consequences on our senior loved ones.

So, for all our sakes, please advocate.

Until next time... keep thinking the good thoughts.

— For more than 30 years, Rona Barrett was a pioneering entertainment reporter, commentator and producer. Since 2000, she has focused her attention and career on the growing crisis of housing and support for our aging population. She is the founder and CEO of the Rona Barrett Foundation, the catalyst behind Santa Ynez Valley’s first affordable senior housing, the Golden Inn & Village. Contact her at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.

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