Senior center publishes report

It comes as no surprise that the Lewis County Senior Center is the busiest spot in town – hosting a bevy of daily activities for the very active to the more sedentary senior. Further, countless volunteers are always on hand to man the telephones, deliver meals, conduct activities and fundraising, and welcome new seniors.

In addition to the bustling of daily activity, there is plenty more going on behind the scenes.

Recently, the Senior Center published its Annual Report that summarizes services provided by their 84-staff member team during the period Oct. 1, 2012 – Sept. 30, 2013.

There were 23,910 meals served on site at the Weston, Jane Lew and Ireland Nutrition Sites, 31,488 home-delivered and frozen meals were distributed by volunteers and staff to frail, vulnerable seniors in Lewis County.

Trained staff provided 110,591 hours of in-home personal care services to eligible clients receiving services from one or more of the following programs: Community Care, Medicaid Waiver, Lighthouse, FAIR, Private Pay, Veteran’s Care, Workers’ Compensation, and Traumatic Brain Injury. Family members of clients who have an Alzheimer’s diagnosis received 822.5 hours of respite relief from their 24/7 routines.

A fleet of eight vehicles provided 7,627 rides to seniors and Medicaid-eligible clients to doctor’s appointments, grocery and/or medical and other essential errands, and to the nutrition sites.

Eight hundred and two clients received assistance with insurance, public benefit programs (i.e. Farmer’s Market Initiative, Medicare Part D, LIEAP). In addition, two licensed social workers assist clients with a diverse range of services including appointments, Medicaid devices/supplies, health and financial benefits, and in-home support.

The center’s payroll and related expenses totaled more than $2.1 million for the period. The Center received $757,879 from government grants to help provide services, conducted fundraisers that netted $62,018 and received donations and in-kind contributions totaling $463,784. Program service fees for the in-home care programs totaled $1,023,467. While contributions and fundraisers continue to grow, the cost of doing business continues to escalate as well. The center reported a $32,367 loss. This loss was due to a number of factors, according to Dinah Mills, director, including “the cost of gasoline, maintenance and repairs to vehicles, raw food cost increases, and government cuts to programs.” The Center will continue to engage in prudent spending to offset any projected shortfalls in this fiscal year.

The Senior Center was established in 1971 by members of the Lewis County community who felt it necessary to tackle the problems associated with seniors living in rural Appalachia – nutrition, isolation, transportation, health care access, and dying alone.

More than four decades later, the Senior Center holds steadfast to their mission “to improve the quality of life for all senior citizens by promoting independence and opportunities for community involvement.” Kim Harrison, assistant director, reports that “the Senior Center continues to maintain its status as a focal point in the community because of the dedicated staff and volunteers and the familial atmosphere they create.”