Fed-up officer says ‘enough,’ starts senior outreach

Shortly after joining the Lake Mary Police Department in 2007, Zach Hudson was dispatched to the home of two elderly women. What he saw left him appalled.

The two women — a mother in her 90s and a daughter in her 70s — had no food and no electricity. Each month, they alternated what they spent their small amount of money on: One month it would be medicine, the next it would be food and bills.

“They were struggling horrifically,” Hudson recalled. “They had to cut their medications. They were doing the things that seniors often do to try to make up the financial difference.”

In his 10 years as a Florida police officer, Hudson had witnessed countless senior citizens in tragic circumstances. But this was the last straw for him.

“I’d had enough,” he said. “And I realized that something had to be done. And that’s when I started to conceptualize the Seniors Intervention Group.”

Since 2009, Hudson’s group has tended to the basic needs of nearly 1,000 seniors in Seminole County, Florida. With the help of hundreds of local volunteers, seniors are provided with essential assistance such as food, money, transportation, vehicle maintenance and help around the house.

“If you’re 80 years old and you have to get up on a footstool to change your light bulb and you fall, it could kill you,” said Hudson, 40. “When it’s 100 degrees outside and you’re faced with either doing your yard or being fined, and you can’t pay somebody to do it, what do you do? Well, you get out there and do it and suck it up, right?

“But sucking it up killed this (one) gentleman. A very kind elderly man walked outside to do his yard, and he didn’t survive. And that’s happening all the time.”

Hudson said seniors facing diminished income in a difficult economy often have to make life-and-death choices for where and how to spend their money. For example, a light bulb that illuminates a doorway — or a repair to a front door — might easily fall below food and medicine on a senior’s list of priorities and make them more vulnerable to crime.

Read More Here