Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)

Grant to benefit local seniors

- By Fran Maye fmaye@21st-centurymed­ia.com @kennettpap­er on Twitter

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.

 ?? FRAN MAYE - 21ST CENTURY MEDIA ?? Brian Duke, secretary of the Pennsylvan­ia Department of Aging, speaks Friday at the Kennett Area Senior Center.
FRAN MAYE - 21ST CENTURY MEDIA Brian Duke, secretary of the Pennsylvan­ia Department of Aging, speaks Friday at the Kennett Area Senior Center.

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