And so it goes ... information, change, cutbacks, increasing needs, geographic isolation and so on. (I know, nothing like good news to begin a column!) There are, however, lots of positive things happening in our service areas.

The sense of community is strong in some folks and we have a fair share of caring, willing, active individuals who expend energy daily in an effort to improve services and generally help those who are in need.

Previous columns have dealt with the difference between "state" services and O3A services, but we should not be lulled into thinking "we" have it all covered. Volunteers, churches, fraternal organizations, community volunteer groups and individuals all are actively involved in a variety of ways ranging from transportation to minor projects. Without these folks food banks, thrift stores, emergency funds, transportation and so forth would be barely limping along - if not non-existent.

As we all try to do our part, the greatest need continues to be information. And how do we get the information out there? We're open to suggestions. One avenue is through forums, senior fairs and so on. The next senior fair is being combined with an Elder Law Forum on Nov. 6, at the Peninsula Church Center community room. More details about that later. O3A (us, remember?) holds community forums throughout our service area as an additional way to gather needed information, as we do realize that without info coming in, little is going to get out. (May seem pretty obvious, but we are a bureaucracy, after all.).

Still another venue is the upcoming South Pacific County Community Health Forum mentioned last column, Oct. 26, Sunday, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Ilwaco Heritage Museum. Again, this forum is an effort to discuss South Pacific County issues - yes, we have many - and hopefully take another step toward coordinating existing resources, while also identifying where the gaps are. The panel includes U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, representatives or directors from health organizations, law enforcement, education, social services and state/local elected officials.

A part of what we do, aside from services related to in-home care services, is to strive toward coordination of existing services in our community as an information, assistance and referral agency. Sort of a one-stop-shopping idea. In a recent conversation with Margarita Cullimore, (who, as the forum producer, is the driver behind the upcoming event), she stated that access appears to be the key. And not only access to information (awareness), but also how to better access those services once they are known. We want to do our part here, also.

So, until next time, a couple dates to remember:

• Oct. 26, 3-5 p.m., South Pacific County Health Forum

• Nov. 6, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Elder Law Forum & Senior Fair (details to follow)

Senior Information & Assistance

Long Beach: 642-3634/1-888-571 -6558

Raymond: 942-2177/1-888-571-6557

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