Weekly Feature



2010-04-08 / Lifestyles

Erie County Senior Services... offering a wide range of programs

SAMANTHA ROBINSON

‘‘ We want people to feel safe in their home and enrich their lives.’’— Kim Kull Erie County Senior Services case manager ‘‘ We want people to feel safe in their home and enrich their lives.’’— Kim Kull Erie County Senior Services case manager The Erie County Department of Senior Services provides many community programs for seniors in the area. The only problem is that very few people know about them.

That’s where Alice comes in. A 92-year-old resident of West Seneca, Alice, who requested that her last name be omitted, has been taking advantage of the county’s services for a number of years, and she wants to get the word out to other seniors.

Never one to sit still, Alice has held various jobs throughout her life, including selling insurance. Until three years ago, she was still working and volunteering.

Alice now resides at a senior apartment complex, where she has lived for the past two and a half years.

She uses the Personal Emergency Response System, Meals On Wheels and Fall Prevention, all of which can be provided for little or no cost by Erie County Senior Services, depending on the person’s income.

As a participant of PERS, Senior Services has equipped Alice with a contact button, which alerts her daughter or paramedics in case of emergency.

She also is enrolled in Meals On Wheels, a program for which she used to be a volunteer.

“At my age, there’s no sense in cooking,” said Alice.

Meals On Wheels provides two meals a day, five times a week, to seniors whose income qualifies

them for the program. It also can accommodate those with special dietary restrictions. A small contribution is requested for each meal if economically feasible, but no one will be denied service if he or she cannot pay.

The Falls Prevention program encourages seniors to participate in rehabilitation therapy and stay active by exercising. Senior Services covers the copays — required by insurance companies — through state grants, making the therapy readily available to those who can benefit from it.

 

West Seneca resident Alice, who is 92, talks about the various programs she participates in through Erie County Senior Services. Photos by Jim Smerecak. Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com West Seneca resident Alice, who is 92, talks about the various programs she participates in through Erie County Senior Services. Photos by Jim Smerecak. Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com In Alice’s case, a therapist visits her every week and assists her with various exercises that improve her balance and reduce the risk of a fall.

“I don’t want to sit at home and do nothing,” said Alice.

Erie County Senior Services also provides adult day care programs, transportation by the Going Places van, grocery delivery and much more.

The Lifelong Educational program gives seniors the chance to re-enter the classroom and learn about a variety of subjects taught by retired professors.

The Senior Volunteer program is specially designed for those active seniors wishing to donate their time and help their community. The program allows seniors to assist at hospitals, schools, homeless shelters and cultural institutions.

Kim Kull, a case manager for Erie County Senior Services, says many of the programs offered to seniors are designed to increase overall quality of life.

“We want people to feel safe in their home and enrich their lives,” said Kull.

Kull handles about 130 cases in the Cheektowaga and West Seneca regions.

In total, there are are approximately 30,000 clients who participate in Erie County’s Senior Services programs.

Erie County Senior Services invests in numerous outreach efforts at churches, senior centers and apartment buildings in order to educate seniors about its programs, as well as answer any questions.

The department also publishes a newsletter, 60 PLUS, which contains a wealth of information about services and upcoming events.

Erie County Senior Services also acts as a resource for information about insurance, Medicare, voter registration, handicapped parking, taxes and other areas of interest.

Those interested in receiving more information about the programs offered by Erie County Senior Services are asked to call 858-8526 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

There is always a live representative who can assist with inquiries.

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Great article on my Mom!

Great article on my Mom! She's a blessing to our family.

Great article by Samantha

Great article by Samantha Robinson which describes the many valuable services to seniors we offer at the Erie County Department of Senior Services. I just want to make clarification on one point. Please note that the Meals on Wheels and the Stay Fit Dining Programs that we sponsor are available to people at ANY income level. It is a common mis-perception, but participants NEED NOT BE INCOME LIMITED! If you have any questions about this or any other senior services, please to not hesiate to contact the Department at 858-8526. Brenda W. Ward Commissioner