Category Archives: Health & Wellness

Elderly-Care-Modern-Model

Senior Serices Celebrate

“There’s no place like home”

40 Years of Senior Services

A brief history

elderly_groupFounded in 1975, Senior Services has a fascinating history, from its humble beginnings to the all-encompassing aging services organization it is today.

Around 1970, a group of individuals formed a private, non-profit organization known as the Council on Aging with the specific purpose of taking advantage of the Older Americans Act. This Act was established in 1965 by Congress to help older people maintain maximum independence in their homes and communities and to promote a continuum of care for the vulnerable elderly. At the time, federal monies were readily available, but there had to be a local match of ten percent. The Council on Aging propositioned the County, but they were reluctant to participate, so they approached the City of Lexington and had success, and began to offer services to seniors in Davidson County who were 60 years of age and above with special emphasis placed on the socially and economically disadvantaged, low income minorities, and the frail elderly.

When the organization was private, they had to provide services, food, and pay workers before receiving funds. They billed the government and then they had to wait for reimbursement. Some of the staff had to make an arrangement with the bank to be responsible for costs, in the event that their funds did not cover the expenses.

During this time, the Council’s Assistant Director opened the first congregate nutrition sites. A facility on 4th Street and National Guard Armory hosted the Lexington sites and in Thomasville the site was located in the Batten Community Center on Trinity Street Extension. Sometime in 1978, the Council on Aging secured the first Senior Center with funds to remodel a building on East Center Street in Lexington, creating space for activities.

In 1980, due to the cost of renting and maintaining the East Center Street facility, the Council approached the Davidson County Board of Commissioners requesting that the county appropriate funds and a facility for services to continue. The commissioners were receptive and voted that the former Health Department building, located at 935 North Main Street in Lexington, be utilized for the Davidson County Council on Aging. The Commissioners also appropriated funds to add a multi-purpose room, allowing the facility to become a full Senior Center. The Fourth Street Congregate Nutrition Site also moved to the new facility. In 1983, the Davidson County Council on Aging changed their name to Davidson County Senior Services.

In 1994, the county purchased the Old Colonial Drive School in Thomasville as a facility to use for government services including a senior center. The Thomasville Senior Services office opened in August 1995. Soon after, the Thomasville Congregate Nutrition Site moved to the new facility. In October 2001, Senior Services, Lexington relocated to 106 Alma Owens Drive after receiving a grant to renovate the former county garage into an 8,472 square foot facility.

With a growing aging population it was not long before the department began experiencing a shortage of facility space for operations. In 2008, commissioners approved for the county to purchase the vacated, Davidson Academy property to house Senior Services, Parks and Recreation, and Davidson Works. Senior Services, Lexington relocated in June 2010 to the current location at 555 West Center Street Extension.

Current servicesElderly-Care-Modern-Model

Senior Services is the lead agency for all local aging programs and is unique because it
serves as a “one-stop shop” resource for well-to-frail older adults. Seniors can take advantage of activities beginning at age 55 and, if eligible, have access nutrition and health services at age 60. In short, the agency’s mission is to support older and disabled adults by offering an array of programs and services to give them independence and the ability to stay in their own homes.

The two Senior Centers are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. These centers house nutrition sites which serve a nutritious noonday meal, provide fitness rooms and equipment, and are the sites for a variety of activities and classes on a daily basis. Both centers have been accredited “Centers of Excellence” since 2000. There are three additional nutrition sites in Welcome, Southmont, and Denton. Information and referral specialists provide a central access point to answer questions and give information about community resources for the elderly, as well as follow-up activities to ensure that the needs of individuals are being met.

For homebound seniors or those at risk for nursing home placement, the nutrition program operates 23 Home-Delivered Meals routes and the Community Alternative Program is designed to benefit disabled adults over the age of 18. In addition, the In-Home Services Program provides trained certified nursing assistants to support older adults who need help with home management, personal care or respite care. This enables the individual or family to function effectively and remain at home longer versus premature placement in an assisted living facility. Finally, Senior Services offers ever-expanding transportation and counseling programs to keep local older adults feeling independent, involved, and informed.

Celebrating a milestone

The theme for the anniversary of Senior Services is “There’s no place like home” because it truly is a second home and thriving community of hope for all individuals age 55 and older.

“Senior Services’ 40th anniversary is a tremendous milestone for the agency. Over the past forty years, we have grown and developed into the lead agency for services in Davidson County and as a model agency for other NC counties,” stated Thessia Everhart-Roberts, Senior Services Director. “I’m immensely proud to be leading a team of people who strive to be their professional best and provide unsurpassed services for our customers. Senior Services is committed to making sure its present and future clients continue to receive the same quality of services they have received over the past 40 years.”

Earlier this year, open house events and ribbon cutting ceremonies at both senior centers provided an opportunity for local residents to get a glimpse inside the agency and at how local community support has helped the department to continually grow from a small nonprofit in the 1970s to its current standing as an example for other counties. Throughout 2015, Senior Services will host a number of special events to celebrate 40 years of service to county residents as well as a progressive outlook for the agency in serving the community for years to come. Previous anniversary events included an “Oldie-Wed” dinner, a float in the Welcome Easter parade, and a volunteer appreciation banquet during National Volunteer Week.

In 2014, Senior Services staff worked diligently to organize a history album that contains news clippings, photos, stories, awards, and other items that display agency growth and changes in personnel, facilities, programs and services. The book is exhibited ongoing at Senior Services in Lexington.

Continuing the festivities, a breakfast and yard sale fundraiser will occur on May 16 from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Lexington Senior Center. A Dodge Ball Tournament is scheduled for June 23 at 6:00 p.m. at the Davidson County Parks & Recreation Gym, and a Fall Festival will take place on October 17 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Davidson County Government West Campus.

A need for volunteers

group of volunteersAs the senior population of Davidson County grows and continues to live longer than past generations, the need for dedicated volunteers has become more apparent. Meaningful volunteer opportunities guarantee those in need of services will receive meals, wellbeing checks, transportation, counseling, education, recreation and socialization. Each qualified and skilled volunteer is crucial to making operations run smoothly and efficiently.

Currently, many Home-Delivered Meals routes suffer from a lack of enough volunteers to provide this crucial community need. Some volunteers, who may be seniors themselves, are over-extended on routes like Silver Valley, where the chairperson delivers up to eight times each month just to keep the route afloat. Once potential meal volunteers complete an application, they attend an orientation and receive plenty of training before they ever go out on their own. The meal deliverers have the option of taking a regular day once or twice per month or they can sub on the route when needed. Clients on the newest route, Noahtown, receive five frozen meals once per week due to a lack of volunteers able to deliver hot meals on a daily basis. Other routes, including Denton, Hasty, Pilgrim, Pilot, Reedy Creek, Wallburg, and West Lexington, are also in desperate need for new volunteers.

Looking to the future

Senior Services is fortunate to have an experienced director and professional staff. As a model agency, and with the full support of the county commissioners and county administration, Davidson County Senior Services is well-positioned to serve the incoming generation of “Baby Boomers” for years to come.

For more information about senior services, upcoming events or volunteering, please call the Lexington center at 242-2290 or the Thomasville center at 474-2754.

 

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Meals on Wheels

Home-delivered meals keep seniors in their own homes

imagesStarting in 1987 with two routes in Denton, the Home-Delivered Meals program at Davidson County Senior Services has grown to serve approximately 250 seniors daily on 23 routes throughout the county.  These homebound seniors, age 60 and over, rely on more than a meal when volunteers come by each weekday; volunteers may be the only visitors they see during the week.

Basically, many of these seniors could not remain independent and active in their communities without these meals and wellness checks.  As Senior Services celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, the agency continues to fulfill its mission, with community involvement, to “support, assist, and advocate for older and disabled adults and their families by offering an evolving array of programs and services to meet their present and future needs regarding their well-being, independence, involvement in their community, and the ability for them to remain in their own home.”

For many seniors in Davidson County, Home Delivered Meals is the first service that they seek for assistance to help them stay in their own homes and live independently. Without meals supplied by Senior Services, many seniors would be prematurely placed in assisted living or nursing homes due to their inability to shop for food or prepare their own meals. Home Delivered Meals help seniors who live alone without family support who may face the threat of hunger due to limitations in their daily living activities.

According to statistics from Feeding America, 17.3% of Davidson County’s total population – 27,860 residents — is food insecure. Of this group, roughly 65% are income-eligible for federal anti-hunger programs, leaving 35% who are dependent on charitable food assistance.  Based on these percentages, a conservative estimate of 5,841 individuals, age 60 and older, experience food insecurity in the county on a regular basis. There may be as many as 2,044 senior citizens who face food insecurity but do not qualify for federal food assistance.

aboutus2Currently, many Home-Delivered Meals routes suffer from a lack of enough volunteers to provide this crucial community need.  Some volunteers, who may be seniors themselves, are over-extended on routes like Silver Valley, where the chairperson delivers up to eight times each month just to keep the route afloat.  Clients on the newest route, Noahtown, receive five frozen meals once per week due to a lack of volunteers able to deliver hot meals on a daily basis.  Other routes, including Denton, Hasty, Pilgrim, Pilot, Reedy Creek, and Wallburg are also in desperate need for new volunteers.

When new service members, age 18 or older, are recruited, they must fill out an application, pass a background check, attend a volunteer orientation, and train with a meal route chairperson or experienced volunteer.  Every year, the agency has a banquet for its most dedicated volunteers, just to show a token of the community’s appreciation.  In other words, Senior Services is proud to say that its volunteers are loyal, experienced, trustworthy, and dedicated to the agency’s mission.

To learn more about becoming a volunteer with Senior Services, contact Jacob Gordon, Volunteer Services Coordinator, at 242-2948 or Jacob.Gordon@DavidsonCountyNC.gov.

seasonal_allergies

Blooming Spring – Ahh Choo!

By Susan Hilton, RN, MSN – The Nature Cottage

It’s spring time again! Most of us are so glad winter is gone and warmer temperatures are coming back. That is until we start thinking of our seasonal allergies returning.

Blooming flowers and trees are nice to look at for most people but not to people with allergies. Pollens from trees, grasses and flowers are the common causes of spring allergies. When they are inhaled and enter the body, the immune system treats them like bacteria and viruses, causing the immune system to release antibodies and attack the allergens. This reaction of the immune system triggers the release of histamine in the blood causing symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, coughing and watery eyes. People who are prone to allergies during spring time should know how to deal with it to avoid further health issues. The following tips can be very helpful to survive spring allergies.

Many people will want to consult their doctor. This is perfectly fine, especially for those with other health issues like respiratory illness. Spring allergies can be dangerous to people with asthma which can lead to narrowing of the airways making it difficult to breathe. Your doctor or allergist can perform skin tests or blood tests to determine if you need to be treated with allergy medications.

There are also many allergy nasal sprays and medications over the counter that can be used to lessen the allergy symptoms. Some allergy medications have side effects and cannot be taken for more than a few days, so always seek your doctor’s advice. Allergy shots may also be recommended by your doctor to help your body to eventually develop tolerance to allergens. Shots will require you to go to the doctor’s office to receive them or you can give them yourself.

Keep your home clean and pollen-free. Cleaning the areas of your home where dust and pollen can settle, places like shelves and carpets, will help. Vacuuming carpets more frequently and wearing a protective mask will help keep you from breathing the particles in while you clean. Remember your animals will bring in pollen when they come back inside. Wiping off their paws with a wet paper towel will get the dust and pollen off your floors.

It can also be helpful to have an air purifier to control airborne pollens inside your home. Make sure to clean air filters on a regular basis and keep the doors and windows closed. Wash your bedding, pillow cases, sheets and clothes as often as possible because pollens have the tendency to stick on fabrics. Controlling pollens in your home can be very helpful to survival of spring allergies.

Get new filters for your central heating and air conditioning and install them now. This is also a great job to ask someone else to do. Having fresh new filters will help filter particulates. The windows need to remain closed. Have the normal maintenance done early so that when the first hot day happens you can turn on your air conditioning with confidence and have it work the way it should.

Stay indoors, especially in the morning when airborne pollens are usually high. To avoid them altogether, just stay indoors. If it cannot be helped and you really want to go outside to enjoy the beautiful day, try to schedule your outdoor activities later in the day or go outdoors when the pollen count outside is low. Wear a protective allergy face mask if you have outdoor activities like gardening and grass mowing. Take a shower after your outdoor activities and wash your hair thoroughly. To survive spring allergies, you have to avoid exposing yourself to airborne pollens as much as possible.

Consult with The Nature Cottage in Lexington for ways to use 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils to control and combat your seasonal allergies. We have many oils that help reduce the symptoms or completely remove your allergies. Our special Allergy Bomb uses three essential oils: Lemon, Lavender and Peppermint. Using these oils once or twice a day can keep you smiling through spring and summer.

Also, consider starting to remove allergens and chemicals from your home and replacing the chemicals with clean essential oil products. You can use an essential oil diffuser to clean the air in your home and office using essential oils such as Purification. I was once terrified of spring coming because my allergies where so bad. I used nasal sprays and medications that my doctor prescribed but never got complete relief. After getting most of the chemicals that I cleaned with and used personally out of my house, my allergies started to improve.  Adding essential oils to help with my prescriptions was next. Now I only use essential oils and I’m pretty much allergy free. Contact The Nature Cottage to see how we can help you.

Remember, spring and summer allergies affect so many of us. Use these suggestions to combat the symptoms of allergies. And you, too, may be able to enjoy each day of the spring and summer!

Susan Hilton RN, MSN The Nature Cottage

 

winter-blues

Go Away Winter Blues

The holiday season is now upon us and the days have gotten shorter.  We’ve lost the extra hour of daylight and fallen back to normal time. We usually think this time of year is full of joy, but for some of us winter brings low spirits as the days get shorter. Many experience changes in mood and emotions, feelings of exhaustion and for many of us, feelings of depression due to lack of sunlight. The severe form of this depression is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

If you think you’re experiencing the winter blues, here are a few suggestions to help you through the wintertime misery.  In winter we think of colors of blues and grays, cold temperatures and staying inside more often. Uplift your mood by decorating your home with colors of the sun. These colors evoke images of fire and heat, enhancing feelings of warmth and happiness. Reds overcome depression, encouraging activity which improves our body metabolism. Orange brings joy and reduces feelings of grief. Yellow stimulates the mind, clears your head and also reduces depression.

You don’t need to pick up a paintbrush to accomplish this. Add colorful pillows or tablecloths in the colors of the sun. Place candles with wonderful aromas around your home. Use sofa or chair covers to brighten up your darker furniture. Place plants and flowers inside to remind you of the smells and look of spring and summer. Even replace hard wooden and metal blinds with soft curtains.

Winter is great time to stimulate your creativity. Visit museums or go to movies or plays. Hang out with friends and learn a new game. If you enjoy reading, catch up on the book or books you’ve been meaning to read. Organize a room or even your whole house.

Another way to beat the winter blues is to add a new hobby or start exercising. Anything to get you moving will do. Both rid feelings of depression, especially exercise. It increases serotonin release in the body. Bundle up and head outdoors for a brisk walk, snowball fight or sledding, playing with your dog or even riding your horse.

A balanced diet that will keep you warding off the winter blues includes plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. This includes plenty of water. Holidays mean food. Try to stay away from too many sweets and that includes alcohol. You will experience a feeling of happiness initially, but it will soon turn to feelings of exhaustion and depression.

Depression and lack of energy can lower your immune system, exposing you to colds and flu. Consider holistic approaches like aromatherapy to staying well. The use of therapeutic essential oils can prevent your body’s immune system from declining. Bath salts, bath scrubs, and bath and hand soaps with essential oils in them help eliminate many germs, insomnia and body aches. Essential oils applied directly to the body are used for healing, calming and balancing thoughts and emotions. Also using essential oil diffusers in your home can benefit the whole family. Young Living’s blend of Thieves Oil and the single oil, Maleleuca, are great for relieving colds and flu. Stress Away is great for calming the stresses in your life. Lavender Oil is good for calming and sleep. Essential oils can clear a stuffy nose, relieve a headache and body pains, and add to your health and wellness.

Remember that winter is a time for celebration and connecting with family and friends. Take care of yourself with these suggestions and experience how aromatherapy can add to your health and wellness. If you do these things, you will survive the bleakness of winter and your wintertime blues.

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for Winter from The Nature Cottage!