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You asked: Senior Services provides programs for older residents

Published 9:02am Saturday, January 5, 2013

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You asked:  What does Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia offer?

BY ANDREW FAISON/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
andrew.faison@tidewaternews.com

FRANKLIN—Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia provides programs for older residents and their caregivers in Hampton Roads as well as Franklin, and Isle of Wight and Southampton counties.

The non-profit operates a senior center at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Franklin, where meals are provided, and low-cost transportation.

“Our mission is to help seniors to live with choice and dignity in their communities,” said Debbie Schwartz, director of development and community relations. “So people can stay in their homes for as long as possible through our support services.”

Senior Services is funded with federal and state grants, donations from foundations and the United Way.

“Without our friends and their fabulous help, we could not do what we do,” Schwartz said. “While we do receive money grants, we are very much looking for private donations to help us.”

Senior Services also works with Southampton Memorial Hospital with programs to help elderly patients from being re-hospitalized.

“Twenty percent of older adults are re-hospitalized within 30 days of being discharged from the hospital,” said Fran Anderson, director of The Center for Aging. “These referrals give us a chance to truly wrap around the individual to help them meet their needs in transport, nutrition, etc.”

The senior centers offer fitness programs, health screenings, information on chronic diseases and support groups.

“Our centers provide an atmosphere for socialization and opportunities to maintain health, independence and social activities,” Anderson said.

Senior Services also provides meals to people 60 and older at its senior centers. In 2012, Senior Services served 70,692 meals to 1,727 people at its 17 senior centers in Hampton Roads and delivered another 114,125 to 661 residents.

“Seniors tell me that they prefer to go to the centers so they can smell the cooking and all of the aromas and colors,” Anderson said.

Senior Services also offers the I-Ride program for transporting to residents to the doctor, senior centers, for shopping and community events.

For $1, riders can take the bus to Walmart in Franklin, where they can connect to the Franklin I-Ride, which has 26 stops in the city. The program is not restricted to senior citizens. Youth 12 and under can ride free with an adult.

In 2012, Senior Services gave 42,483 rides, said Cynthia Creede, director of Transit and Wellness.

“On one occasion, we had a gentleman that visited one of our wellness centers pass away, and his funeral was so large we provided transportation from that wellness center,” Creede said.

I-Ride buses are available 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in Courtland; 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesdays in Boykins, Branchville and Newsoms, and 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. on Thursdays in Hunterdale and Sedley.

“We cannot do all that we do without volunteers and we are always looking for more volunteers,” Schwartz said. “It is a very demanding and rewarding. All of our volunteers are very well trained and we are looking for more in Western Tidewater.”

For more information call 757-461-9481.

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