Senior Center programs detailed to Rotary

ELKINS – Laura Ward, the executive director of the Randolph County Senior Center, detailed the programs offered to local seniors during Monday’s Elkins Rotary Club meeting.

Ward said she suggested to her grandmother, who is 82 years old, that she take in some of the activities at the center.

“She refused, saying she was not going to the center to be with all those old people,” Ward said jokingly. “There are lots of people that are hesitant to come to a senior center, but once we get them there, they stay. They find someone they know or they find a program they like and they keep coming back.”

Ward said interaction with others is a very important part of helping seniors stay healthy. She said the Randolph County Senior Center offers many programs that folks probably do not know exist.

“Most people know we provide meals and some in-home care, but there are some great programs that are not well-known,” Ward said. “We have a SHIP counselor, which is a senior health insurance program counselor that can assist with Medicare and hospital bill problems. We have a medical equipment lending closet for folks who break a leg. It’s all donated and we can lend a walker out for a short period. It saves folks a boatload of money.”

Ward said representatives from state Attorney General Natalie Tennant’s office and Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito’s office stop in once a month to hear seniors’ concerns. She also explained why it is important to find out what the Randolph County Senior Center offers.

“In Randolph County, from the year 2000 to 2035, the Randolph County population should be stable, but the number of senior citizens is going to more than double,” she said. “So in 20 years, when I am ready to retire, there will be close to 9,000 seniors – many, many more seniors than there will be children. That is going to affect everyone in this room. There will be less young people to fill jobs and there will be an increase in demand for medical care and senior citizen services, in-home care in particular.

“In-home care is the bedrock that meets our mission – it keeps people happy, healthy and home. You know how miserable it can be to be in the hospital, but if you can stay home and save the taxpayers money, and you are happier, and can remain in your home, that is very important.”

Ward said the Randolph County Senior Center offers nine in-home care programs, including the Medicaid waiver program, case management, homemaker services, personal care, private pay, veterans’ program, respite program and the lighthouse program. Each program offers different services to meet client needs, and most are based on income guidelines and a sliding scale.

The Randolph County Senior Center is a private, non-profit organization that was established in 1968. Services are provided to seniors age 60 and older for all programs except home care programs, which are offered to those 18 and older. Country Roads Transit is available to all ages.

Three centers, located in Elkins, Mill Creek and Harman, serve the county.

Additional information about the Randolph County Senior Center and program offerings is available by calling 304-636-4747.