Doug Sheaffer – Pacific County

We ourselves are adept at information gathering

July 7, 2020


By:Doug Sheaffer



Some offices remain closed to the public due to the virus.  Some offices are doing furlough days when staff are not at work due to the financial situation.

In all our discussions about community resources, agencies—federal, state and private—one of the most dynamic yet often overlooked resource that still might be available is…YOU.

You. Yes, you.

Who? Me? I’m not a social worker or anything like that. I’m just…me.

While it’s certainly true that we all haven’t experienced everything, we have all experienced something. The odds are very good that you have experienced events and issues I have not. Conversely, I probably have wandered down different paths than you. Together, we have knowledge gained that could benefit one another—or others in the community.

Much of the information shared in this space has come through people looking for assistance and in doing so, sharing what they’ve found. Often, these conversations spark us into digging deeper and finding yet more information regarding some issue or need.

Resources are helpful only if used, and there is a lot of really helpful information available. As a society, we’re still largely a hunting and gathering group—in many ways, we’ve simply exchanged gathering food for gathering information. And we’ve also pretty much traded foraging in the fields and forest to foraging online. is a great resource for legal information. Alzheimer’ is a thorough and easy to navigate site with current information from how to care for someone to scientific research. And there’s our that has information about family caregivers, in-home care, advocacy and links to other sites. All good, but also, not very conversational.

One of the points I’m trying to make is this:  We can become very educated about various issues, and perhaps even become an expert (whatever that is) in a given area, but one thing reading information can’t do is relate.

I may learn a lot about being a caregiver for a family member, for example, but what does it actually feel like? Aside from theories and approaches, how does it impact the lives, thoughts and feelings of real people who’ve been there?

Yep. It comes back to that resource that not only understands the issues, but has the experience—YOU.

And it doesn’t have to be at a seminar, or during a conference, or even in an office. You—being you—are always someplace. Be it in an office, or in a coffee shop, or the library, or wherever, it works because the resource is not the location, it’s you.


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