For me, paying someone a modest fee and making SURE that my parent was contacted would be worth it.
As far as the postal service, (mostly due to paperless billing) I havenít gotten mail since Thursday. Actually, I get very little mail and I donít get a newspaper. So if I hadnít been in contact with anyone and something had happened, looking to the post office for help, even as a backup, wouldnít be a good idea.
I spoke to my friend and she said her aunt has a mail slot in her front door Ė not a mailbox and not a group box. While itís nice that postal carriers have helped out some people in trouble, Iíd rather they focus on getting mail to the right address.