The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

May 5, 2013

Opportunities, fun abound at county’s senior centers

Commentary By Jennifer Reece
For The News Courier

— Each year since 1963, May has been designated as Older Americans Month — a time to appreciate and celebrate the vitality and aspirations of older adults and their contributions to our communities. 

The theme for Older Americans Month 2013, “Unleash the Power of Age,” has never been more fitting. Older Americans are productive, active and influential members of society, sharing essential talents, wisdom and life experience with their families, friends and neighbors. 

Through its work with TARCOG and the Area Agency on Aging, the Limestone County Council on Aging provides information, referrals and services for seniors ages 60 and older. Some of those services include:

• Transportation to medical appointments and wheelchair patient transport;

• Transportation to the centers and a shopping route;

• Medicare Part D counseling (SHIP Program); apply for extra assistance on Part B, D premiums;

• Senior RX program;

• Information and referrals;

• In-home services;

• Guest speakers, meets and greets with elected officials, informative programs, classes, newsletters, special events, trips, etc.;

• Elder law attorney — once a month (no charge);

• Meals on Wheels;

• Congregate meals at five nutrition centers; and

• Seven senior centers (five are nutrition, two are activity) featuring fun and fellowship five days a week.

If you are concerned about an elderly loved one, the following warning signs may help you detect physical and mental changes and indicate the need to take action:

• Change in eating habits (loss of weight, lack of appetite and missed meals);

• Neglect of personal hygiene (wearing dirty clothes, body odor, bad breath and sores on skin);

• Neglect of home (a noticeable change in cleanliness and sanitation);

• Change in relationship patterns (noticeable to family,  friends and neighbors);

• Exhibits inappropriate behavior (unusually loud, too quiet, paranoid, agitated and phone calls at all hours);

• Has new physical injuries, which may result from weakness, misuse of medications, forgetfulness (burns, bruises, etc.);

• Decrease in participation in activities that were once important to them; and

• Exhibits forgetfulness

I want people in Limestone County to know there are programs available that can help their elderly loved ones maintain their independence. If you know of anyone that could benefit from our programs, do not hesitate to call us at 256-233-6412.