Services available for senior citizens 60 years and older

Seniors are offered assistance through several programs in the county, such as the respit program through Family Health Care offered Mondays and Wednesdays at St. Ann's Senior Center.

Seniors are offered assistance through several programs in the county, such as the respit program through Family Health Care offered Mondays and Wednesdays at St. Ann's Senior Center.

Star photo/Shanna Avery

LAKE COUNTY — For those who are 60 years-old and older, there are different services offered through the county to make life a bit easier. 

Shelly Shafer, director for the Lake County Council on Aging, said there are several programs and agencies which offer different ways to support seniors in the county, and she would like community members to know some of the resources available. 

"With Lake County Council on Aging, funding is through a senior millage serving those 60 and older," she said. "All the services are donation-based."

Funding helps provide home-delivered meals to homebound seniors, as well as congregate meals at St. Ann's Senior Center, Luther Senior Center, Henrietta Summers Senior Center, Oakwood Manor and Peacock Senior Center, which is currently closed.

Millage dollars also help with upkeep and staffing. 

Lake County COA offers medical transportation to doctor appointments outside of the county with staff or volunteer drivers, as well as inside the county, through Yates Dial-A-Ride. 

Funds also provide for homemaker services, such as housecleaning for clients with medical needs who are not able to get help from any other service, and Home Chore, a program providing outside cleaning, such as raking and mowing. The service will begin again at the end of April or beginning of May, Shafer explained.

The RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) is where volunteers help seniors with shopping and medical transportation. They receive mileage for working for nonprofits. 

AGENCY PARTNERSHIPS

Different groups come to St. Ann's Senior Center to offer outreach, such as the Alzheimer's Association Michigan Chapter, which gives free education programs, the next one being Tuesday, Feb. 28, during the senior meal. The program will explore 10 warning signs of Alzheimer's and compare them to normal age-related memory loss. 

The group also provides support in the form of support groups and care consultations. If a family is caring for a member with memory loss at home and is 60 or older, the caretaker or the person with memory loss, may be eligible for the dementia support program. When enrolled, a licensed social worker will come to the home to help address caregiving concerns and behaviors, and create a customized care plan, provide dementia information, and connect with community resources.

The program is locally available in Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Newaygo and Lake counties with financial support from the Area Agency on Aging of West Michigan. Contact 800-272-3900 or helplinegmc@alz.org to learn more. 

Shafer said Family Health Care also works with seniors, providing services based on need and income. 

"They may have a copay, but usually it's not very much if they do have to pay one," she said. 

FHC offers a bathing service with Basic Care. With Friendly Visitors, volunteers go in and stay with the senior if a family member can't be there and may do activities with them like color, play Yahtzee, cards, watch TV, or just talk. 

"This program provides someone to sit with them while they are kind of still able, but not able to be on their own," she said. 

"FHC also has Respit Care, so if you have someone with dementia or other memory impairment, they have a day program at our building on 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, and they have in-home respit program," Shafer said. 

Shafer said the Department of Health and Human Services are always willing to help with any senior issues, and seniors also can connect in their own communities through county-wide senior centers which receive money for the needs of elderly, such as Luther Senior Center, Peacock Senior Center (currently closed), Henrietta Senior Center in Idlewild and Hollister Senior Center in Baldwin.   

For more information on these programs and services, contact St. Ann's Senior Center at 231-745-2401.