Intro by Ron Beacom:
What has 2021 meant for seniors living in our community? We get the perspective of two staff members at Senior Services of Midland County
, a private nonprofit organization that provides programs and services for residents who are age 60 and over. Their mission is to promote and enrich the quality of life for older adults and those who care for them by collaboratively providing meaningful services and opportunities. Senior Services funding sources include a county-wide millage, fees for services, United Way, and state appropriations of the Older Americans Act through the Michigan Aging and Adult Services Agency and Region VII Area Agency on Aging.
Ashley David works as the Communication & Design Manager for Senior Services of Midland County and Editor of their senior newspaper publication, Midland Prime Times.
Trena Winans is the Director of Education and Outreach at Senior Services, where she oversees the team responsible for public relations, volunteers, and education, health and fitness classes.
Article by Ashley David & Trena Winans:
What a year! At the start of 2021, we were at the peak of a winter surge of COVID, forcing many older adults to remain home and isolated. Between mobility challenges, loneliness, and a greater risk of becoming seriously ill, they found themselves struggling. Throughout the pandemic, Senior Services adapted to find ways to step up and provide for those in need.
Line dancing class held outside during COVID-19 surge.
Care Coordinators made special efforts to call clients and check on their wellbeing. For those in need of meals, Senior Services brought healthy, delicious meals right to their door in a contactless manner by friendly, compassionate volunteers. As the pandemic continued to create significant challenges for the people we serve, we reinvented ways to offer our services and reach those who were increasingly vulnerable and isolated. Staff members across the agency made weekly calls to clients to check on them, to offer a listening ear and meet their needs. Our Education & Outreach team offered fitness, support groups, educational programming, and enrichment online to seniors looking to stay connected. We continued to transport clients needing life-saving doctors’ appointments and dialysis during quarantine with the help of our incredible transportation volunteers.
Midland County Department of Public Health delivering vaccinations at Trailside Senior Center.
Yet, there were signs of hope with the rollout of vaccines. In January, Senior Services began hosting numerous COVID-19 vaccine clinics in collaboration with the Midland County Department of Public Health (MCDPH). In partnership with organizations in the community, we vaccinated thousands. Midland County can be proud to say that over 90% of adults aged 65+ have received vaccinations against COVID-19. We attribute much of the success to the local volunteers and staff at both agencies.
This high vaccination rate among the people we serve, allowed Senior Services to gradually and safely resume all services, classes and supports over the course of the spring and summer of 2021. Seasons Adult Day Health Services, a therapeutic enrichment program for those living with chronic illness or dementia, welcomed back clients in need and now is back to normal capacity. Care Coordinators resumed home visits, and our five Activity and Dining Centers reopened to local older adults across the county with nutritious meals, engaging activities, interesting classes and most importantly, social engagement.
The past two years have been challenging for the agency and we have learned a great deal. As we look ahead into 2022 we will continue to adapt to the changes in how we offer our services with a goal to support seniors in their pursuit of happiness, connection and safety. If you or someone you know could benefit from the services provided by Senior Services, call 989-633-3700 or visit www.SeniorServicesMidland.org