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Senior Centers: Masters of Aging!

September is National Senior Center Month!
This year’s theme is Senior Centers: Masters of Aging!

Across the country, more and more people are beginning to recognize their local senior center isn’t what it used to be – it’s a lot more! According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), there are 11,400 senior centers across the US serving over 1 million older adults every day. Thanks to the Older Americans Act (OAA), senior centers have become a community focal point and one of the most widely used services among America’s older adults.

NCOA also shared that when compared with their peers, senior center participants have higher levels of health, social interaction, and life satisfaction. They go on to say that research shows participants learn to manage and delay the onset of chronic disease and experience measurable improvements in their physical, social, spiritual, emotional, mental, and economic well-being.

The 2017 theme focuses on Empowering, Enlightening, Engaging and Enriching the lives of those who attend Senior Centers across the country. NCOA states, “The theme highlights the many ways senior centers lead their communities and inspire individuals to master this phase of life. Individuals search to understand their own needs amidst competing demands and responsibilities. At their senior center, they find programs and resources that inspire them to make the most of their time. Community leaders often turn to senior center professionals, their local masters of aging, to facilitate improved services and positively address changing demographic challenges and opportunities.”

The History of Celebrating

The national celebration of senior centers began in 1979, with Senior Center Week celebrated in May. The concept gained support of other aging organizations, as well as the full Senate and the House Select Committee on Aging. Thanks to the U.S. Conference of Mayors Aging Task Force, numerous mayoral proclamations celebrated Senior Center Week. In 1985, National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC) was instrumental in achieving the first Senior Center Week Presidential Proclamation signed by President Ronald Reagan. In 2007, NISC designated the entire month of September as Senior Center Month to give centers greater flexibility in scheduling celebratory events.

Celebrating Local Centers

In Cumberland County, Messiah Lifeways sponsors and operates two senior centers, Mechanicsburg Place: A Senior Center and More located at 97 W. Portland Street and Branch Creek Place: A Senior Center and More located at 115 N. Fayette Street in Shippensburg. This collaborative effort between Messiah Lifeways, local and county officials, and the Cumberland County Aging and Community Services further demonstrates the commitment to and value of local senior centers.

As we celebrate National Senior Center Month, schedule a visit and learn what’s new and exciting at your local senior center, and how they empower, enlighten, engage and enrich the lives of older adults.

Contact Mechanicsburg Place: A Senior Center and More at 717.697.5947 or visit MessiahLifeways.org/MechPlace and for Branch Creek Place: A Senior Center and More, please call 717.300.3563 or visit MessiahLifeways.org/BranchCreek. Other Cumberland County Senior Center locations include:

  • Big Spring Senior Center: 91 Doubling Gap Rd., Ste 1, Newville.  717-776-4478
  • Carlisle Senior Action Center: 20 E. Pomfret St., Carlisle.  717-249-5007
  • Mary C. Shaner Senior Center: 98 S. Enola Dr., Enola.  717-732-3915
  • West Shore Senior Citizens Center: 122 Geary Ave., New Cumberland.  717-774-0409

For information on Senior Centers throughout PA, please visit www.aging.pa.gov

Making Home Care More Affordable

Non-medical home care services are a great way to help aging loved ones or those with a disability live more independently and safely in their own home. It also gives primary caregivers a break from providing assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing and dressing, as well as chores like cooking and housekeeping. For many individuals who do not have family close by or have a strong support system, home care can become their primary care giving source. However, these services can be cost-prohibitive for many and are not covered under health insurance, except for short periods of time if someone is receiving home healthcare or hospice services. But again, this coverage is very limited. Thus, paying out-of-pocket is typically how you receive these types of non-medical services.

The national hourly median rate for home care is approximately $20/hour¹. Do the math and you can quickly see how expensive it can get on a monthly basis. For some, these costs can be handled and is a fair price to pay to avoid moving to a personal care home or nursing home. But, for many more, they must limit its use or simply go without it, which lays the burden of care giving directly on family and friends.

State & County Funding

Fortunately there is some financial assistance available to those who qualify. State and county funding vary from state to state. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) program offer coverage to help pay or offset costs of a variety of services and goods including services like non-medical home care and other services to help older Pennsylvanians age in place. Each of these programs has its own non-financial and financial medical assistance eligibility requirements (click here for details).

These programs include (click here):

 Veteran Administration Funding

Another form of financial assistance to cover the costs of home care and facility based care, which for many years went highly unpublicized, is the VA’s Aid & Attendance and Housebound Pension (click here). According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs it offers:

“Veterans and survivors who are eligible for a VA pension and require the aid and attendance of another person, or are housebound, may be eligible for additional monetary payment. These benefits are paid in addition to a monthly pension, and they are not paid without eligibility to pension.

 Since Aid and Attendance and Housebound allowances increase the pension amount, people who are not eligible for a basic pension due to excessive income may be eligible for pension at these increased rates. A Veteran or surviving spouse may not receive Aid and Attendance benefits and Housebound benefits at the same time.”

Eligibility for this program is based on need, finances and military service requirements. Contact your local Pension Management Center (click here) to find out more about this pension program. You can also connect with your local VA representative by contacting your local county Area Agency on Aging.

Grant Funding

 Sometimes if you search hard enough you might discover a grant program that will help pay for a service like home care. One such program is that of the Cheryl Kay Foundation (CKF), whose mission is to improve the quality of living and independence for women battling breast cancer and senior citizens in financial need. The Cheryl Kay Foundation is a Mechanicsburg, PA-based family organization dedicated to affordable, dignified, and accessible home care services. They offer $1,000 grants to help offset the cost of care for qualified individuals. CKF eligibility requirements include any woman undergoing breast cancer treatment or individuals 79 years of age or older, who live alone or with a spouse, and whose monthly income is between $2,022 and a maximum of $3,635, aimed at helping those who do not financially qualify for the Aging Waiver mentioned earlier in the article.

CKF was founded in 2013 by the family of Cheryl Kay Stawovy, who passed away after battling breast cancer. The foundation seeks to honor Cheryl’s life and model the spirit of neighbor helping neighbor. They work with a limited number of non-profit home care providers to serve those in need, and Messiah Lifeways At Home (MLAH) is one of only two not-for-profit home care providers in Cumberland County, PA. The grant can allow clients to hire Messiah Lifeways At Home as an extra set of hands during the treatment and recovery phase of breast cancer or to eligible seniors to receive the assistance they need. These one-time grants can cover approximately 50 hours of care for people who otherwise might not be able to afford it. To learn more, please visit CherylKayFoundation.org.

Lastly, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) created a great website – BenefitsCheckUp.org. This free site provides an easy way to find a wide range of benefits, especially for older adults. It’s a very simple site that allows you to search for programs and services to help pay for benefits you or a loved one may be entitled to. Often people had no idea they were eligible for assistance or didn’t realize the aid even existed. Knowing is definitely half the battle.

This article is full of links that will take you directly to the program sites mentioned. If you need more assistance or have additional questions regarding home care services, please call Messiah Lifeways At Home at 717.790-8209 or visit MessiahLifeways.org/AtHome.

 

Celebrate National Senior Center Month: Find balance at your center!

September is National Senior Center Month and this year’s theme is
Find balance at your center!


Across the country, more and more people are beginning to recognize their local senior center isn’t what it used to be – it’s a lot more! According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA) there are 11,400 senior centers across the US that serve more than 1 million older adults every day. Thanks to the Older Americans Act (OAA), senior centers have become a community focal point and one of the most widely used services among America’s older adults.

NCOA also shared that when compared with their peers, senior center participants have higher levels of health, social interaction, and life satisfaction. They go on to say that research shows participants learn to manage and delay the onset of chronic disease and experience measurable improvements in their physical, social, spiritual, emotional, mental, and economic well-being. The 2016 theme focuses on a great balance of purpose, fitness, friendship, and learning.

Senior Center Month 2016 PosterSenior centers typically offer a wide variety of programs and services such as, but certainly not limited to, the following:

* Meal and nutritional programs
* Health, fitness, and wellness programs
* Computer/technology learning programs
* Public benefits counseling
* Employment assistance
* Volunteer and civic engagement opportunities
* Social and recreational activities
* Educational and arts programs

Locally Messiah Lifeways sponsors and operates two senior centers, Mechanicsburg Place: A Senior Center and More located at 97 W. Portland Street and Branch Creek Place: A Senior Center and More located on 115 N. Fayette Street in Shippensburg. This collaborative effort between Messiah Lifeways, local and county officials, and the Cumberland County Department of Aging and Community Services further demonstrates the commitment to and value of local senior centers.

Senior Center ChoirServing Senior Meals at Mechanicsburg PlaceThese senior centers are friendly community gathering places where you can connect, volunteer, enjoy cultural experiences, take educational classes and a lot more. Activities like line dancing, low impact exercise, health screenings and flu shots help members stay well and active. Members also experience culture with bus trips and outings to local restaurants, theaters and historical sites. They also have many opportunities to connect with others at meal time, game time or while playing pool or singing in the chorus. Participants also have many ways to grow and learn by taking computer classes, health and safety classes or simply by meeting new people. And like most senior centers, volunteering is a big part of the experience. Whether it’s helping out at the center by answering phones, serving lunch or helping out with community service projects, members can share their time and talents.

Mechanicsburg Place was chosen as one of ten senior centers in Pennsylvania to host a program called the “Sip and Swipe Café.” It’s part of the center where members can get a cup of coffee and free lessons on how to use an iPad by trained instructors. There are multiple tablets for them to use on a regular basis. This calls to mind that senior centers are making great effort reinventing themselves. Meeting the needs and desires of the aging baby boom generation has helped inspire these changes. Senior centers are developing new programs and opportunities for this dynamic generation of older adults.

As we celebrate National Senior Center Month, get out there and check out what’s new and exciting at your local senior center. Plus, to learn more about Mechanicsburg Place: A Senior Center and More, please call 717.697.5947 or visit MessiahLifeways.org/MechPlace or to learn more about Branch Creek Place: A Senior Center and More, please call 717.300.3563 or visit MessiahLifeways.org/BranchCreek.

Senior Centers: Celebrating a Community Focal Point


September is National Senior Center Month – Celebrate!

Across the country, more and more people are beginning to recognize their local senior center isn’t what it used to be – it’s a lot more! According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA) there are 11,400 senior centers across the US that serve more than 1 million older adults every day. Thanks to the Older Americans Act (OAA), senior centers have become a community focal point and one of the most widely used services among America’s older adults.

NCOA also shared that when compared with their peers, senior center participants have higher levels of health, social interaction, and life satisfaction. They go on to say that research shows participants learn to manage and delay the onset of chronic disease and experience measurable improvements in their physical, social, spiritual, emotional, mental, and economic well-being.

Senior centers typically offer a wide variety of programs and services such as, but certainly not limited to, the following:

* Meal and nutritional programs
* Health, fitness, and wellness programs
* Transportation services
* Public benefits counseling
* Employment assistance
* Volunteer and civic engagement opportunities
* Social and recreational activities
* Educational and arts programs

Locally Messiah Lifeways sponsors and operates two senior centers, Mechanicsburg Place: A Senior Center and More and the newly christened Senior Center in Shippensburg, now known as Branch Creek Place: A Senior Center and More. On September 2, a huge gathering came to celebrate the name unveiling at the future home of Branch Creek Place located on 115 N. Fayette Street in Shippensburg. This collaborative effort between Messiah Lifeways, local and county officials, and the Cumberland County Department of Aging and Community Services further demonstrates the commitment to and value of local senior centers. Thanks in part to a $112,000 state grant, renovations will begin on Branch Creek Place this fall, with an anticipated completion next spring. At that point, the center will move from its quaint yet cramped and temporary location at the Christ United Methodist Church at 47 E. King Street.

These senior centers are friendly community gathering places where you can connect, volunteer, enjoy cultural experiences, take educational classes and a lot more. Activities like line dancing, low impact exercise, health screenings and flu shots help members stay well and active. Members also experience culture with bus trips and outings to local restaurants, theaters and historical sites. They also have many opportunities to connect with others at meal time, game time or while playing pool or singing in the chorus. Participants also have many ways to grow and learn by taking computer classes, health and safety classes or simply by meeting new people. And like most senior centers, volunteering is a big part of the experience. Whether it’s helping out at the center by answering phones, serving lunch or helping out with community service projects, members can share their time and talents.

Recently, Mechanicsburg Place was chosen as one of ten senior centers in Pennsylvania to pilot a program called the “Sip and Swipe Café.” Essentially, it’s part of the center where members can get a cup of coffee and free lessons on how to use an iPad with trained members instructing other members. There will be multiple tablets for them to use on a regular basis especially as they become more and more proficient on them. This calls to mind that senior centers are making great effort reinventing themselves. Meeting the needs and desires of the aging baby boom generation has helped inspire these changes. Senior centers are developing new programs and opportunities for this dynamic generation of older adults.

As we celebrate National Senior Center Month, get out there and check out what’s new and exciting at your local senior center. Plus, to learn more about Mechanicsburg Place: A Senior Center and More, please call 717.697.5947 or visit MessiahLifeways.org/MechPlace. Or to learn more about Branch Creek Place: A Senior Center and More, please call 717.300.3563.