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Guest Column: Senior Resources — What does the agency do?

Live United by Jackie Hillman

Jackie Hillman

 

If you’re like a lot of other people in Freeborn County, you’re vaguely aware of Senior Resources and you’ve probably seen our volunteer drivers around town with the white and red stickers on their car doors.  But what does Senior Resources do? I’m going to share some information about Senior Resources and hope to clarify some of the information you were wondering about Senior Resources. 

Senior Resources is a nonprofit agency (501c3) that has been in existence since 1980 and is in our community to help seniors remain independent, safe and active in their own homes. Our mission statement is “to provide opportunities that promote health and well-being to the aging population and others in need.” There are a number of programs under the Senior Resources umbrella that can assist with that goal. We are located in the downtown Vitality Center building, along with other nonprofit agencies and we have a board of directors comprised of nine people. We depend very heavily on our volunteers of which we are very grateful for. Our agency is sometimes confused with the Senior Center, which is in the Skyline Plaza. We collaborate with them, but our missions are very unique and different from each other.      

One of our most visible programs of Senior Resources is the Ride Services program. This program depends on volunteers to give rides to seniors. Rides can be for medical, dental, hair appointments or just about any type of personal appointment needed. Rides can be local within Albert Lea, and frequently our drivers are on the road to Rochester taking clients to various medical appointments.  Some clients have the ability to pay for their rides, and some have insurance that covers the cost of rides for them.  We are able to pay our volunteers for the mileage they incur while driving. Last year our Ride Services program drove over 100,700 miles!    

Another program of Senior Resources is the Senior Advocacy program. Our advocate provides information and assistance to seniors. Services include, but are not limited to the following: assistance with senior drug programs, help with filling out forms (for Social Security, Medicare, medical assistance, etc), insurance questions, food support and help with housing. In 2017, our advocacy program made 1,062 contacts to seniors and their families. Direct one-on-one information, referral and assistance services were provided to 305 seniors.   

The Senior Resources advocacy manager works very closely with the chore program. Many individuals utilize our chore program to get lawn mowing and snow removal services. We can also tackle small yard projects such as lawn raking, weeding and small carpentry projects. Costs for completing these projects is income-based. Last year, our chore program provided 650 hours of service to 55 Freeborn County senior families.    

Our Caregiver Network is another program supported by Senior Resources. In 2017, this program provided 306 hours of direct respite services and 280 sessions of counseling, including 24 caregiver support groups for 51 caregivers and their family members. The primary objective of the program is to support caregivers with programs and services that reduce caregiver stress. Service options include in-home respite, monthly caregiver support groups, direct counseling and care-coordinating sessions, and books, workshops and other resources that relate to caregiving issues. A new option for caregivers is REACH (Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health in the Community), offering individualized support in four sessions for families dealing the Alzheimer’s.    

Because Senior Resources is a nonprofit agency, we depend on donations and funding to keep us operating. We receive funding from Southeast Minnesota Area Agency on Aging, the United Way of Freeborn County, as well as funding from the city, county and other organizations. We also appreciate all the individual donations we receive each year. For more information on any of our programs or information on how you can donate or volunteer, give us a call at 507-377-7433.      

Jackie Hillman is the executive director of Senior Resources of Freeborn County.