Page 19 - Scene Magazine 45-06 June 2020
P. 19

  Local Interest
Manager, Calhoun County Senior Services
    the August 4, 2020, election for a ten-year renewal. Having local funds to help se- niors live healthy and safe lives expands the programs available for those age 60 and over. It is one of the many things
According to 2018 Census estimates, Calhoun County is home to 134,473 peo- ple, of which 24%, or 32,434 people, are age 60 and over and therefore qualify as seniors. Approximately 20% of seniors in Calhoun County benefited from a Senior Millage funded program in 2019.
In partnership with CareWell Ser- vices, 354 frail, older adults received a personal emergency device to give them piece of mind that they can call for help when needed. The Vision and Hearing programs are also offered by CareWell Services.
that make Calhoun County a great place to live. Calhoun County Senior Services administers Senior Millage funds with the approval and guidance of a thirteen-mem- ber, citizen-led Senior Millage Allocation Committee (SMAC) and the Calhoun County Board of Commissioners.
Reviewing Part D prescription plans and helping seniors understand Medi- care and Medicaid; 1,273 older adults received Medicare/Medicaid benefits counseling, saving over $2 million and gaining peace of mind about their health insurance decisions.
Ten special events were supported by Calhoun County Senior Services. These events included the annual Senior Fair in Marshall which was attended by over 650 people and featured more than 90 vendors; the Centenarian Luncheon, a birthday party that recognizes all Cal- houn County residents, age 99 and over; Senior Day at the Calhoun County Fair; Senior Day at the Ball Park; a Caregiver Retreat at First Congregational Church in Battle Creek; and the Homeless Health Fair and VA Stand Down.
The office administers Senior Millage funding, promotes collaboration, provides Medicare & Medicaid counseling, and or- ganizes special events to promote health education and socialization for older adults. In 2019, the Calhoun County Se- nior Millage assisted over 6,500 seniors with services that varied from Senior Transportation, Minor Home Repair and Home Heating Assistance through Com- munity Action, to home-delivered meals through Senior Services of Southwest Michigan, to Dental Services through the Fountain Clinic and Grace Health. Almost one hundred more seniors were served in 2019 than in 2018! Due to the COVID-19 response, some providers have had to reduce services to protect older adults and staff, but many services have been mod- ified and are still being provided. While group meals sites have closed to protect people from contact, home delivered meals has expanded almost doubling the number of people being served daily.
Some people receive Senior Mill- age-funded one-time services, while others receive multiple services over time such as a membership in a Senior Center or attendance at Marian Burch Adult Day Care. In total, $3.1 million was spent in 2019 through 21 programs providing services through multi-year contracts with eleven trusted, nonprofit or government organizations in the com- munity. Twelve mini-grants of $5,000
Community Action Senior Trans- portation provided 676 seniors with 30,608 rides on nine vans that crisscross the County providing rides for medical appointments, grocery shopping, and social trips. Because of Senior Millage, lack of transportation should not prevent an older adult from attending a needed medical appointment within the County.
The annual Joanne Konkle leadership award in aging services was awarded to retired nurse Jane Chappell who was in- strumental in establishing Senior Health Partners and touched many people through her work as a nurse, and Micki Oglibee, a retired teacher, for her volun- teer work helping hundreds of seniors in the greater Albion area with Medicare and Medicaid counseling.
Calhoun County Senior Millage helps older adults live better.
Senior Millage funds services
to older adults. Calhoun County voters first ap- proved the Senior Millage in 1996, it is on the ballot for reauthorization in
or less were distributed to important community projects like sponsoring ten Veterans to participate in the Talons Out Honor Flight, exercise equipment at Marshall House, support for fresh food box distributions to low-income seniors by Sprout, a senior picnic at Wilder Creek Conservation Center, support for Albion Community Gardens, and other important programs.
While now closed because of COVID-19, Heritage Commons Senior Enrichment Center in Marshall celebrat- ed its 2nd anniversary with over 140 members. Support was also provided to the Forks Senior Center in Albion.
Thanks to home-delivered meals
and group meals sites, provided through a partnership with Senior Services of Southwest Michigan and CareWell Services, over 1,160 seniors ate 135,217 nutritious meals. Because of Senior Millage dollars, Calhoun County does not have a wait list for home-delivered meals, as some other communities do. Meals are prepared locally in the kitchen at the Kool Family Community Center and then distributed county-wide by paid staff and volunteers. Volunteers are needed to provide meal delivery on weekdays from 10:15am-12:30pm. Call Senior Services SWMI at 866-200-8877 x 350.
While many Senior Millage service providers have modified their programs in 2020 to respond to COVID-19, ser- vices are still available. Senior Millage is a valuable resource that helps Calhoun County residents, who are 60 years and over, solve life’s problems. To learn more about Calhoun County’s Senior Millage, call an individual program or (269) 781-0846.
Through Senior Health Partners pro- graming, 487 seniors exercised 11,734 times through the Senior Fitness & Fun program which combines regular exer- cise with health monitoring and social opportunities.
Helen Guzzo, LMSW, is the Manag- er of Calhoun County Senior Services, which funds services for residents age 60 and over with Senior Millage tax dollars to promote health, safety and wellness. The Calhoun County Senior Millage will be up for renewal on the August 4, 2020 ballot. Email: seniormillage@calhoun- for more information.

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