Page 4 - Senior Times South Central Michigan May 2020 - 27-05
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Page 4
Senior Times - May 2020 Update On Your
Helen Guzzo, LMSW, Special to Senior Times
 Calhoun County Senior Millage is up for renewal on the August 4, 2020 ballot.
Senior Millage-Funded Services that are available during the... STAY HOME, STAY SAFE COVID-19 ORDER
Home-Delivered Meals
To sign up for Meals on Wheels for homebound seniors (that are unable to prepare meals themselves).
Senior Services of SWMI: 866-200-8877
To volunteer to deliver meals to seniors, from Monday thru Friday, 10:15am - Noon, call
Senior Services of SWMI: 866-200-8877
Prescription Assistance*
Provides help for seniors
without insurance to afford needed medications.
Fountain Clinic: 269-781-0952
      Personal Emergency Response System*
Provides seniors personal electronic device for safety. Call for any emer- gency need during the COVID-19 Emergency.
CareWell Services: 269-441-0930
Senior Transportation
Provides van rides to medical ap- pointments or grocery shopping. Community Action: 269-565-4144
Benefits Counseling
Provides answers to Medicare and Medicaid questions.
CareWell Services: 269-966-2450
All services are funded by the citizens of Calhoun County through support of the Senior Millage.
Services are available to any County resident, aged 60 and over.
CALHOUN COUNTY SENIOR SERVICES 315 W. Green St. Marshall, MI 49068
                        269 -781- 0846
     My heart has gone out to older adults who are sheltering in place alone during this time of national crisis. My advice has been to reach out and make calls to loved ones and neighbors because we need to strengthen our bonds through technology when a hug isn’t possible.
Battle Creek Area Habitat for Humanity has suspended the use of volunteers to build Ramps. Construction staff are constructing high priority ramps.
While I have been calling my 83-year- old mom and other older adults in my life to give support, I am blessed that my two college-aged daughters were able to come home to complete their college semesters online. One brought a friend home, so we are a family of five adults, all working
on our laptops at home during the day
but able to share a family dinner in the evening. My college senior feels cheated out of the experience of her last semester on campus and the recognition of a grad- uation ceremony. As I cancelled the 2020 Senior Fair scheduled for April 8th and other events planned to bring older adults together for education, socialization and support, I felt like my work was unravel- ing. Yet we are all learning how to work at home, attend Zoom video conference meetings and figure out how to make
a difference while respecting social distancing.
CareWell Services operates Senior Hearing Assistance & Vision Services programs, which are suspended until restrictions are lifted. CareWell also oper- ates the Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) program that provides seniors with an electronic device for alert- ing authorities when there is an emergen- cy. CareWell Services and the subcontrac- tor, VRI, are continuing to do intake and installation of PERS.
Even with this health crisis, Calhoun County Senior Millage is still going to
be up for renewal on the August 4, 2020 ballot. Calhoun County passed its Senior Millage for the first time in 1996 and
it was last renewed in 2010 with 79% approval from those voting. Calhoun County Senior Millage raises about $2.7 million annually to fund 22 different pro- grams that provide services to Calhoun County seniors, age 60 and over. In 2019, over 6,500 older adults participated in the different programs. During the COVID-19 crisis, many Senior Millage-funded pro- grams have suspended services because they are delivered in person, but others have modified their programing to contin- ue providing services to older adults.
Community Action provides Home Heating Assistance to help low-income seniors pay past due utility bills. During the COVID-19 crisis, utility shut-offs are prevented by State order. If intake infor- mation and documentation can be provided over the phone, internet, or fax, assistance is being provided. Community Action’s Senior Minor Home Repair program is only doing emergency repairs, such as fur- nace replacement, water heaters, and other health and safety repairs that can’t wait. Community Action’s Senior Transportation vans are still operating with restrictions on the number of riders, rides limited to med- ical appointments and grocery shopping, or trips to food pantries. Staff are disin- fecting vans every two hours.
The Marian E. Burch Adult Day Care Center is closed, and its transportation pro- gram shut down, but staff are working at the Calhoun County Medical Care Facility.
Congregate or group meal sites have been suspended. If existing congregate meal participants need meals, they have been added to the home delivered pro- gram. Home delivered meals, or Meals on Wheels continue. Home delivered meal participants have been delivered 14 shelf-stable meals in case of emergency and if meal delivery is suspended. There is a need for new volunteers to replace the older active volunteers who have had to stop delivering meals for their own health and safety. A background check is required.
Benefits Counseling, helping seniors with Medicare and Medicaid questions,
is still being provided over the phone
by CareWell Services in Battle Creek; Calhoun County Senior Services in Marshall; and the Forks Senior Center in Albion. In addition, CareWell Services is serving as the hub for emergency requests during the COVID-19 response.
Community members interested in volunteering to deliver meals, Monday- Friday, 10:15am-12:15pm, should call Senior Services SWMI at 1-866-200- 8877 x137.
Legal Services of South Central Michigan continues to provide Senior Legal Assistance over the phone. All out- reach and in-person intake are suspended. Legal assistance is available online, any- one can complete an online intake through
  Heritage Commons Senior Enrichment Center in Marshall and Forks Senior Center in Albion as well as Kool Family Center Community Center in Battle Creek are closed until restrictions are lifted.
Senior Health Partners continues to provide its Community Care Options program providing in-home services and limited errands by homecare agencies to low-income seniors. Homecare agencies are continuing to serve clients weekly unless the client has requested a suspen- sion due to COVID-19. New intakes and assessments are occurring by phone only. Enrollments are still being done on a tem- porary basis if the senior appears to meet the level of care and financial requirement. While Senior Health Partners have sus- pended its Senior Fit & Fun exercise class- es and support groups, nurses are calling participants weekly to check in on health status, providing health education, and making referrals as needed. Fitness staff are also making a weekly call to provide telephone reassurance and encouraging participants to stay active and practice simple exercises at home.
Fountain Clinic maintains limited office hours, however, Senior Dental Services at the Fountain Clinic and Grace Health are suspended until restrictions are lifted. The Fountain Clinic is still operating its Senior Prescription Assistance for older adults without insurance coverage who can’t afford needed medications, this service is being offered over the phone.
Guardian Finance and Advocacy Services has closed its office to the public, but one guardian will be in the office during business hours to handle permission to treat and other emergency matters. Remaining guardians continue
to advocate for clients via phone work- ing from home. On-call guardianship coverage continues to be provided seven day a week, 24 hour a day. The Money Management Program, which provides one-on-one assistance with finances and bill paying to help maintain independence, is suspended until after the crisis.
Calhoun County Senior Millage has provided long-term, stable funding to ten nonprofit organizations that fill gaps in services needed by older adults for health, safety, and independence. These organiza- tions have adjusted their programs during the COVID-19 response in order to prior- itize the health and safety of older adults and the community. Stay safe. Reach out to others. Wash your hands.
Handy Helper Services & Bed
Bug Remediation – Senior Services of Southwest Michigan is continuing this program as seniors request assistance with emergency requests for simple home main- tenance. Staff visiting the homes of seniors are practicing hand washing and social distancing but still providing services.
Helen Guzzo, LMSW, is the Manager of Calhoun County Senior Services, which funds 22 different service programs for residents age 60 and over with Senior Millage tax dollars. Call (269) 781-0846 or email seniormillage@calhouncountymi. gov for more information.

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