HARRISON – It’s a simple assumption that Clare County Senior Services provides some meals and housekeeping services to members of the county’s aged population. However, the services provided are vast and quite often truly lifelines for the elderly. A detailed listing of services was provided by Carol Majewski, director of Clare County Senior Services, at a recent meeting of the Clare County Board of Commissioners Committee of the Whole.
Majewski began with last year’s numbers which included serving 74,642 meals to 539 clients; and performing 24,237 hours of in-home care which includes homemaking, respite care and personal care.
She said one holdover from the pandemic that will continue is offering curbside meals. Of the 10 county agencies in Region 7 Area Agency on Aging, Clare County is one of only two that will continue curbside meal pick up. Those age 60-plus can order a meal for pick up at the senior center and take it home.
“They’re going to let us do that for the indefinite future,” she said. “And we’re pretty happy about it.”
Another pandemic holdover is $2.35 per hour [state-paid] premium pay for in-home workers, which has now been raised to $3.40 per hour for this year.
“We’re very happy about that,” she said. “Because finding workers to go into the home is difficult at best – on a good day.”
Majewski said the Area Agency on Aging is sharing ARPA funds with her department, totaling roughly $190,000. Planned are some equipment purchases, vehicle purchasing, along with stocking the currently depleted equipment loan pantry and incontinent supplies pantry. She described the needed walkers, wheelchairs, etc., and said the incontinence supplies which are very costly and difficult for seniors to afford. ARPA funds purchases also have included 32 “cushy” chairs for the senior center; heat-holding gel-pack bags for home delivered meals.
Attending with Majewski were some of her coworkers, whom she introduced to the commissioners:
-Amy Longstreth, program coordinator [described as the numbers girl].
-Jen Kendall, nutrition director, who has been working with the Michigan Community Action Agency which has been supplying the food pantry [over the previous two weeks, Kendall had packed 75 bags with a variety of food stuffs and delivered them to seniors in need in the Harrison area].
-Evelyn Allison, in-home director, who directs approximately 25 in-home workers, ensuring those seniors who need that in-home care are assigned a worker.
-Cheyenne Neumeyer, social worker, visits clients, evaluates their needs, places them on services, and sometimes makes referral to other agencies.
-Carol Leary, case coordinator, who also visits clients and assesses their needs.
Majewski said that last year Neumeyer and Leary saw a combined total of about 500 people – once in person and once by phone. She also noted that Neumeyer and Leary were working with the sheriff’s department on Lifesaver International which uses tracking bracelets used to locate lost individuals [not only seniors]. The two also do a caregiver support group with a planned monthly outreach through mail and phone.
Another cooperative effort is done with the Isabella County Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion Advisory Council, wherein a senior companion comes to the senior meal site on Fridays and has been doing crafts and playing games with the seniors.
Majewski also described Kinship efforts to support and assist grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.
“I’m happy to say the Vulnerable Adult Network is going to start up again,” she said. “It had paused during the pandemic. That was a group of agencies that got together approximately once a month to discuss the needs of vulnerable adults in our county, and how we could best serve them.”
Senior Services also partners with Region 7 for hearing aids, dental, eyeglasses, legal assistance, Medicaid/Medicare planning. Assistance with Medicaid/Medicare can be obtained by contacting the Clare County Senior Services office.
“Carol and Amy set up a display and participated in the Veterans Fair in July and made contacts with a lot of people in need,” Majewski said. “I do believe we gained a few clients that day. Evelyn attended the Michiganders Legislative Day on our behalf, and she learned a lot of really wonderful information and brought that back to us.”
Upon closing, Majewski and her entourage received “thank you’s” all around from the Board. © Clare County Cleaver
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here