Page 4 - Senior Times South Central Michigan August 2020 - 27-08
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Page 4 Senior Times - August 2020
By: Helen Guzzo, LMSW, Manager, Calhoun County Senior Services
  Calhoun County Senior Millage, first approved in 1996, is up for a ten-year renewal in the August 4 election. Senior Millage funds 22 pro- grams administered by ten non profit organiza- tions. In 2019, Senior Millage-funded programs served over 6,500 older adults, age 60 and over. Senior Millage is .7452 mills; raises over $2.7 million annually; and was last authorized by vot- ers in 2010, passing with over 79% approval.
help seniors remain independent and living in their own homes for as long as possible.
by Senior Millage through the Fountain Clinic. Many low-income seniors between the ages of 60-64 do not have prescription coverage. The Senior Millage has helped folks in this age group pay for the lifesaving drugs. When a senior is
Calhoun County Senior Millage funds pro- grams that are vital to the health of the commu- nity. Calhoun County has a higher quality of life because of the services that Senior Millage funds. Here is an overview of the programs funded by Senior Millage.
While now closed because of COVID-19, Senior Millage funds up to nine spots a day at the Marian E. Burch Adult Day Care program. The day program has a daily capacity of 75 peo- ple with transportation to and from the Center included. Participants engage in a wide variety of activities plus physical, speech, and occupation- al therapies if needed. A noon meal and snacks are provided as well as a wide selection of daily activities. Adult day care allows for caregivers to work and take a necessary break while knowing that their vulnerable adult is receiving great care.
65 and has Medicare Part D, most drug costs are covered until they reach the “donut hole,” that
is when Senior Millage can help if the senior is low-income. In 2019, 46 seniors received pre- scription assistance from the program.
Senior Millage partners with CareWell Services SW and Senior Services of Southwest Michigan to fund home-delivered meals. Thanks to Senior Millage funding, Calhoun County
does not have a waitlist for Meals on Wheels. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, weekday delivery of meals has become a lifeline for over 550 seniors, providing a hot meal and a daily check on vulnerable older adults still living at home. One recipient stated, “Meals on Wheels is a lifesaver, and helps keep me living at home.” Access to nutritious meals is incredibly import- ant to keep seniors healthy. According to a study completed by the Meals on Wheels Association of America, “Meals on Wheels can serve a senior for an entire year for about the same cost as just one day in a hospital or ten days in a nursing home.”
Battle Creek Area Habitat for Human is fund- ed to construct ramps for seniors needing acces- sibility modifications. In 2019, 21 ramps were installed by volunteers with materials purchased through Senior Millage. Ramps provide the freedom for seniors experiencing mobility chal- lenges to move in and out of their homes safely and freely. Ramps also allow emergency medical and fire personnel to safely transport recipients
to nearby hospitals if needed. One Battle Creek recipient said, “Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have my ramp now and nothing can stop me from getting out of the house. I can attend my grandson’s birthday party tomorrow. He will be so surprised.”
Senior Millage funds Guardian Finance & Advocacy Services to help defray the costs of providing financial guardianship and represen- tative payee services for some of the County’s most vulnerable older adults. Guardian also pro- vides Money Management services to provide one-on-one help with finances to help vulnerable seniors maintain independence. Legal advice and help preparing legal documents is also pro- vided through Legal Services of South Central Michigan.
Senior Services of Southwest Michigan also partners with Senior Millage to provide a Handy Helper program, which helps low-income older adults with needed simple home maintenance, and a Bed Bug Remediation Program to help low-income senior homeowners with treatment if they cannot afford it.
Finally, Senior Millage partners with the
Area Agency on Aging for Calhoun and Barry Counties, CareWell Services SW. CareWell part- ners federal and state funding with Senior Millage dollars to provide a variety of services for older adults. CareWell Services coordinates Benefits Counseling to help older adults with questions about Medicare and Medicaid; provides person- al emergency response devices for low-income seniors to provide peace of mind and a way to get help in an emergency; and provides hearing and vision services for low-income seniors.
Senior Millage funds three programs run by Community Action. Seniors no longer able to drive are able to attend medical appointments,
go grocery shopping, or socialize through Senior Transportation. The Transportation program asks for a donation of $2 per ride for Calhoun County residents over 60 years to any destination in the county for any reason from 8am-4pm, Monday through Friday. Many rides are provided to spe- cial events that some seniors would otherwise not be able to attend. Additionally, Senior Millage funds Community Action to provide Minor Home Repair, which can fix health and safety items up to $3,500 for low-income senior homeowners. Senior Millage also funds utility assistance to help seniors pay past due bills. With these ser- vices, Community Action and Senior Millage
The Fountain Clinic runs the Senior Millage- funded Dental and Prescription programs. Medicare does not pay for dental service and buying a separate dental policy for low-income seniors is often beyond their financial means. For over twenty years, Senior Millage has funded dental cleanings, screenings, dental x-rays, fill- ings, extractions, and dentures for low-income seniors who might otherwise go without dental care. After receiving dental services, seniors tes- tify that for the first time in years they can eat without pain and can chew foods they have had to give up. In 2019, 301 seniors received dental ben- efits from the Fountain Clinic’s dental program in partnership with Grace Health and local dentists.
Senior Millage also provides mini-grants from between $500 to $5,000 for a variety of community projects including the Talons Out Honor Flights for Veterans, Albion Community Gardens, and other creative senior programing. If you have questions about Senior Millage, or any of the programs it funds, please call
(269) 781-0846.
Senior Millage helps pay the operating
costs for two Senior Centers, the Forks Senior Center in Albion and Heritage Commons Senior Enrichment Center in Marshall. While closed because of COVID-19 until the fall, senior cen- ters provide educational, social, and wellness programming. The centers offer places for older adults to make new friends and volunteer. They offer lunch, cooking classes, exercise classes, art classes, bingo, and social gatherings to cre- ate lively, accessible programs to promote older adults’ well-being.
Wellness is promoted through programs pro- vided by Senior Health Partners with exercise classes supervised by a nurse through the Senior Fitness and Fun program. Walking classes are now being offered outside to promote exercise safely with COVID restrictions in place. Senior Health Partners also offers a nurse assessment and referral for some limited homecare through the Community Care Options program.
 Gaps in prescription coverage are also covered
Helen Guzzo, LMSW, is the Manager of Calhoun County Senior Services, which funds services for residents age 60 and over with Senior Millage tax dollars to promote health, safety, and independence. The Calhoun County Senior Millage will be up for renewal on the August 4, 2020 ballot. Email: senior- for more information.
   Calhoun County Senior Millage-Funded Services
  Adult Day Care
(269) 962-1750
Benefits Counseling
(517) 629-3842 - Albion (269) 966-2450 - Battle Creek (269) 781-0846 - Marshall
Community Care Options
(269) 441-0948
Dental Services
Handy Helper Services & Bed Bug Remediation (866) 200-8877
Hearing & Vision Services
(269) 441-0930
Home Heating Assistance
(269) 965-7766
Legal Assistance
(800) 688-3951
Meal Delivered / Meal Sites
Minor Home Repair
(877) 422-2726
Money Management
(866) 963-3253
Personal Emergency Response
(269) 441-0930
Prescription Assistance
Ramps for Accessibility
(269) 966-2502
Senior Centers
(517) 629-3842 - Albion (269) 558-6150 - Marshall (269) 965-0000 - Battle Creek
Senior Fitness & Fun
(269) 441-0948
Senior Transportation
             (269) 781-0952
(866) 200-8877
(269) 781-0952
(800) 994-9876
 315 West Green St. Marshall, MI 49068 • 269-781-0846 •
All services are funded by the citizens of Calhoun County through support of the Senior Millage. Services are available to any County resident, age 60 and over. Some programs may have additional eligibility requirements.
Service may be impacted due to COVID-19. Please call to verify.
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