Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)
Grant to benefit local seniors
KENNETT SQUARE » By next year, one out of four Pennsylvanians will be 60 or over, and 70 percent will need long-term care at some point in their life.
Brian Duke, secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, said a $64,000 grant to the Kennett Senior Center will help to coordinate and recruit volunteers to help “younger” older adults, those in their 60s. Speaking Friday at the Kennett Center, he said it will enable older residents to stay in their homes, especially the homebound who do not receive services from other county agencies.
“This will allow people to remain independent and maintain their dignity in the community,” he said. “It’s a transitional program to help participants who need limited assistance with daily living that’s important to those individuals to remain independent.”
Rep. Chris Ross, who sponsored legislation that paved the way for the grant, said he is hopeful the program will help lots of families.
The grant will provide an opportunity for the Kennett Senior Center to modernize, encourage technology improvements, expand innovative programming and better meet the needs of current and future senior center participants. The enhancements will also allow more efficient program administration to maximize the number of older Pennsylvanians who can benefit from senior center programs.
Said Sen. Dominic Pileggi: “As Pennsylvania’s population ages, it becomes more important — and cost-effective — to support programs designed to help seniors stay in their own homes. This is the kind of program where a modest amount of funding can go a long way. I was pleased to work with Rep. Ross to shepherd it through the General Assembly.”
Duke said the 550 senior centers across the state are being challenged to provide more and better programs, especially since Alzheimer’s disease is becoming more prevalent. He said more than 400,000 Pennsylvanians are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and
collaborative approaches are needed to use limited financial services to seniors in the best way possible.
“Senior centers are a vital resource for older adults and helps people to stay healthy and independent,” Duke said. “Senior centers offer a great variety of programs, nutritious meals, transportation services and access to financial and insurance counseling.”
The money will be used, in part, to recruit a younger demographic for outreach services, and to enhance the quality of life for older Pennsylvanians, and if it proves successful, Coatesville and Downingtown se- nior centers stand to benefit in the future, Duke said.
Anita O’Connor, executive director of the Kennett Center, said the program will boost the center’s Neighbors in Action program, and APPRISE, a program designed to help those age 60 and older and those with disabilities with Medicare health insurance concerns.