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Posted on July 24, 2017 at 1:28 PM by Jennifer Ambrose
Throughout life, meeting friends who turn into family are some of the most fulfilling relationships one can have. That best friend from elementary school, your roommate from college, the next-door neighbor raising kids alongside you. Later in life, the time can come when those family-like friends aren’t there anymore. Sometimes that can be lonely.
For seniors in Lenawee County, their local senior center is a place they can go to meet new people and develop those family-like bonds with others in their region of the county. The directors of the senior centers in Lenawee County recognize the importance of these deep connections between their seniors.
“It’s a family atmosphere,” said Dee Hall, director of the Addison Senior Center. “It’s a smaller center so they’re more like a family. They eat together and they get to play cards together.”
Spending time with other people give these folks the opportunity to speak and be heard, says Heather Barker, director of the Adrian Senior Center. “A common thread in the senior community is that they’re lonely. They’ve lost a spouse, or a partner, or a sister, and they’re really looking for a place to come to enjoy speaking again.”
Studies have shown that seniors who engage with their peers can reduce the risk of developing cognitive disorders such as dementia. In 2008, the American Journal of Public Health published a study of 2,249 older women in California. Researchers reported that those with larger social networks were 26 percent less likely to develop dementia and those with daily contact with family and friends cut their likelihood by half, according to AARP.
The home delivered meals program is a way for seniors who are unable to go out to receive a meal every day to have some interaction with someone from outside of their world. The person who drops off the meal does a well-being check on the senior, which can alleviate some worry for their family members who may not be able to check in on them during the day.
“Our home delivered meals program is so important to our center because when we deliver meals each day, sometimes those are the first and the only people that those seniors see in a day, or even in a week,” said Addison Senior Center Director Hall.
“Home-bound meals help with nutrition issues [seniors face],” said Turi Meining, director of the Hudson Senior Center. “And they provide interaction with the people who deliver the meals. They get to see someone.”
Seniors who stay active are also less likely to develop pathological changes in the brain that could lead to cognitive impairment, according to AARP. The Journal of American Medical Association reported on a clinical study in September 2008 that found that exercise, especially when combined with social interaction, is believed to “stimulate the formation of brain synapses, enhance blood flow to the brain and increase the formation of nerve cells.”
The senior centers in Lenawee County understand the importance of fitness in the lives of seniors. The Adrian Senior Center, located in the old high school of St. Mary’s church, is fortunate to have a full-sized gym for seniors to use.
“The full-sized gym affords us to provide a lot more fitness opportunities,” said Adrian Senior Center Director Barker.
Group fitness classes such as Tai Chi, focuses on coordination and fall-prevention; cardio drumming promises to “release stress, sweat, sing, and enjoy a sense of community, all while exercising;” Zumba Gold, which is a lower impact, “Latin-inspired dance fitness party.” Fitness equipment is always available, for those who prefer more traditional fitness training.
Seniors also tend to have more medical issues than the younger population. Making it to medical appointments that can be critical to their health can pose a problem for seniors that don’t drive. The volunteer transportation program available through the Lenawee Department on Aging (LDA) is a much-needed resource for seniors.
The volunteer transportation program transports Lenawee County seniors to medical appointments both in Lenawee County and outside of it, said Amy Young, transportation coordinator.
“Many of them, especially the dialysis patients, wouldn’t have another way to get to those appointments,” said Young. “You think about medical appointments being really necessary as you get older. A lot of people don’t have drivers’ licenses anymore. We also have a wheelchair van so we can take clients who are in wheelchairs to their medical appointments.”
Posted on July 18, 2017 at 2:25 PM by Jennifer Ambrose
Home. Every inch of space can hold invaluable memories. For many, as they age, it can be very difficult to think of leaving the home that means so much to them. Often, with assistance, these residents can live happily at home for a longer period of time without sacrificing health or safety.
Lenawee County residents, John and Helen Brown, have been able to enjoy many years together in their home due to several services they receive from the Lenawee Department on Aging (LDA). Helen, 86, who has survived a stroke and a heart attack, and John, 98, who has experienced two strokes and three heart attacks in the last six years.
“We’ve been using the Department on Aging for the last six or seven years,” said Helen. “We have home-delivered meals, a young lady who helps with health care, and a homemaker. I’m very grateful for all three of them.”
The Browns, like many seniors, take pride remaining in their own home, as opposed to transitioning into an assisted living or another special care facility. Often the difference between seniors staying in their homes or not relies on these services that help them with healthy meals, medical assistance, housekeeping, and more.
“Rather than go into an assisted living facility, or perhaps something even more complicated than that, we’ve been able to stay in our own home. These services allow us to live a more normal life, in our own home.”
With continuing health issues and children living on opposite coasts of the country who are unable to help the Brown’s daily needs, the LDA continues to make a significant impact on their lives.
“If these services were not available, or had to be discontinued, I’m not quite sure what route we would have to take,” said Helen. “Perhaps if our general health deteriorated too much more we might have to go into assisted living, which neither one of us want. I don’t know what we would do.”
In addition to the health and home care assistance the Browns receive, the LDA and seven senior centers also offer a wide range of social activities and education and fitness classes aimed at keeping our seniors living healthy and active lives.
For more information, stay tuned to the Lenawee County blog or visit Lenawee Department on Aging here: http://www.lenaweeseniors.org/
Posted on July 11, 2017 at 12:31 PM by Jennifer Ambrose
With more than 13,000 Michigan children in foster care, the need for families to step forward and help these kids by taking them into their homes is greater than ever. By providing love, care, and support, foster families are able to give children the tools they need to feel safe and secure.
In Lenawee County, the services and programs provided to foster youth are designed to help children and families through every phase of foster care. From providing daycare and counseling services for younger children, to a variety of services for older youth who are transitioning out of the program, foster care in Lenawee County helps hundreds of children each year.
Today’s Children Lead Tomorrow’s World
“I was in foster care for about 10 years,” says Kitten Miller, a 21-year-old art student at Siena Heights. “I’ve just finished volunteer foster care. Volunteer foster care is after you age-out of the system at 18, but you can still stay in until you’re 21. Then you receive checks from them to help you become more financially stable.”
Older youths like Miller can stay within the foster care program after age 18 through voluntary foster care. The purpose of this program is to help foster youths to make sure they are mature enough and ready for big life events like high school graduation, first jobs, college classes and financial responsibilities. By helping these kids, the foster program raises their chances of success after they leave the program at age 21.
Other support services like the Michigan Youth Opportunity Initiative, or MYOI, help young people leaving the foster care system to become successful with big life changes such as housing, education, employment, community engagement, and health.
“They have made a great impact on my life,” Miller says. “They have helped me with many problems in my life that I’ve dealt with. They support me with anything I need. They’ve helped me get jobs before; they’re helping me right now to try to get a job. Without them, I would be in so much trouble; possibly on the street.”
“It definitely helps,” says Miller. “[Foster Care] helps many, many people.”
With the services provided to foster youth in Lenawee County, this next generation will be ready to lead successful, prosperous lives within our county.
For more information about the foster care program in Lenawee County, visit them at http://bit.ly/2suzGRG. For more information about how Lenawee County is investing in You through programs like foster care, stay tuned to our blog or call 888-448-1387.