Senior Resource Center impacts Haywood County

Special to The Mountaineer
By Yvonne Gold | Jan 15, 2014
Photo by: Donated photo SENIOR LEADERSHIP CLASS XII — Back row, left to right: Victoria Young, facilitator; Karen Zimmerman, Peggy Comer, Suzanne Bazinet, Roland Bazinet; Front row, left to right:  Rhonda Rowars, Diane Byers. BELOW — Marian Badgley and Ken Liscombe of the Maggie Valley/Jonathan Creek Resource Team assist client with a Project Lifesaver bracelet.  The bracelets contain a tracking device that allows law enforcement officers to quickly locate an Alzheimer patient who wanders away from home.

The Senior Resource Center of Haywood County is a nonprofit which is unfamiliar to many people. It’s one of those places that people might not know about until a crisis occurs that drives them to seek information and assistance. Those times come to all of us sooner or later.

While many seek the agency in a crisis, it is so much better to become familiar with the center now in order to be prepared for the future. The public is invited to visit the center and learn about its myriad of programs and services.

This past year the Senior Resource Center’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) served 416 individuals and saved them $149,815 in health care costs. Given today’s economic environment, every penny saved is important.

The Haywood Jackson Volunteer Center assisted 73 new volunteers find opportunities at over 60 organizations.

Individuals completing the Senior Leadership Program spend 13 weeks learning about programs and services available for seniors. Following their “graduation,” they serve in volunteer positions throughout the county and work on resource teams to help seniors and their caregivers find needed assistance. This past year these wonderful volunteers contributed 263,920 hours of volunteer service, valued at $263,920.

The Center’s Foster Grandparent Program sends senior volunteers into the schools to mentor young children who are at risk for falling behind academically. This past year they donated 51,072 hours to local schools, Head Start classes and early child development centers.

The In-Home Program provides in-home aid assistance to elderly individuals who are homebound. This past year, staff provided 3,577 hours of in-home service to 45 seniors.

Staff at nutrition sites served 11,254 meals in 2013. For many seniors, the meal they enjoy at the congregate nutrition sites is their only hot meal of the day.

The Senior Companion Program provides companionship to homebound seniors. A total of 220 frail seniors were served this past year.

Almost 300 Christmas boxes were delivered to seniors who otherwise would have had very little for Christmas.

In an effort to provide a one-stop center for senior services, the Resource Center is home to Memory Care. In the past, patients had to drive to Asheville for services, but Memory Care is now open on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Senior Resource Center. Social Services, Disability Partners, and the Smoky Mountain Geriatric Team also have a presence in the facility.

The Senior Resource Center is making a difference in Haywood County. It helps those who are elderly and frail, but it is also providing programs to help younger seniors and Boomers age well. Classes are available through the Creative Living Program. Pick up a brochure at the center and discover new experiences and learning opportunities.

The Brain Health Workshop, offered twice annually is designed to help seniors remain cognitively fit as they age. There is even a Brain Gym in the center that makes NeuroActive Brain Bikes available at no charge. These bikes integrate physical and mental exercise for a well-balanced exercise program. Everyone must age, but some will do it better than others.

Take advantage of opportunities to learn how to remain fit and active well into your later years. Age well and enjoy life —and allow the Senior Resource Center to help you on that journey. The center is located at 81 Elmwood Way in Waynesville. Call  452-2370 for more information.

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