Whether you’re a caregiver searching for resources for your aging loved one or a senior looking for information on nutrition services and transportation assistance, it’s not always clear where to begin.
For those in Macomb County, your search starts with the Macomb County Office of Senior Services. It’s their mission to help seniors and their caregivers navigate the various services and programs available throughout the county.
“We are kind of like a one-stop shop,” says Sheila Cote, director of the Macomb County Office of Senior Services. “If a senior calls, we do an intake over the phone and then we try to navigate them to the right services that they are looking for.
“We don’t provide all of the services for seniors, but we will get them to the right place that meets their needs.”
The employees and volunteers with the Macomb County Office of Senior Services have an important job, especially as the number of seniors continues to increase. In fact, according to the Population Reference Bureau, the number of individuals ages 65-plus is projected to nearly double by 2060. Access to information and resources is integral to ensure this population is properly cared for.
“People shouldn’t feel like they have to struggle alone. Regardless of their situation, there should be some kind of support or assistance that is available,” says Nicole Urban, the office’s program manager. “Caregivers wait until they are burnt out before they seek help, and that doesn’t really do them or their loved on any good if they can’t take care of themselves.
“So we really encourage people to ask for help early on, because it’s usually a long road and you want to be able to be there.”
Here, Cote and Urban offer insight on the various services and programs offered for seniors and their caregivers in Macomb County.
Dining Senior Style
“That’s a program for folks that are not homebound,” Urban explains. “We offer the same meal in a social setting at 20 locations around Macomb County (where) they can go in and have that same lunch and interact with their peers and play games and socialize, and not have to worry about making a meal and cleaning up.”
This daily lunch program is offered Monday-Friday.
Meals on Wheels
Volunteers deliver ready-to-eat meals to residents in Macomb County – ages 60 and older – who are homebound.
“We do the Meals on Wheels so that homebound seniors who can’t either cook for themselves or shop have at least one meal per day that is nutritionally sound,” Cote says. “We have a dietitian that reviews all the menus to make sure that they meet certain standards for the seniors.”
Meals on Wheels can also help folks who are dealing with isolation, she adds. For some individuals they serve Meals on Wheels to, that’s the only contact they have with another person all week. So it provides not only a nutritional benefit, but also a chance for socialization.
Those with a valid prescription for Ensure Plus can also benefit from the Ensure Plus Program. Through this program, Meals on Wheels offers cans of Ensure Plus as a supplement.
During the holidays, participants can also receive Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner through Holiday Meals on Wheels, which is open to Macomb County residents who are 60-plus.
Senior Project Fresh Coupons
Income-eligible residents ages 60 and older can receive a $20 coupon book to use at local farmers markets or stands, thanks to this program. Individuals must apply in person and show photo identification to prove they are Macomb County residents.
Walkers, wheelchairs and canes are available for seniors to take, Urban says. Those interested in donating items, which must be clean and in good working condition, can drop them off at the Macomb County Action Office of Senior Services, located at 21885 Dunham Road, Suite 6 in Clinton Township.
Adult Day Caring Center
Caregivers of those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease – who are unable to be left home alone – can benefit from the GoldenBerry Adult Day Caring Center, which is located in Clinton Township.
Keeping active, staying engaged and more boast big benefits for seniors, and at local senior centers, they can remain in contact with their peers.
“Macomb County has a really large number of seniors centers that are very active,” Urban says. “They have ongoing education, traveling trips, some of them have a little gym attached to the senior center, they have sports groups – it is the hopping place to be.”
Many senior centers even have transportation to bring seniors in – and, Cote adds, her office has an arrangement with some centers to have Meals on Wheels delivered certain days per week for Dining Senior Style.
Help with benefits
The Macomb County Office of Senior Servicesalso has a Community Liaison Program, which Urban notes, provides information and access to benefits for older adults.
Staff is certified in Medicare along with all state applications programs, so they can help people apply for food stamps and other services.
This free web-based training program is offered to family caregivers of those with dementia.
“It’s actually an innovative and new program that’s being offered by the AAA 1-B and available to caregivers from six different counties covering the southeast Michigan area,” Urban says.
This personalized and skill-based training gives caregivers access to a number of topics related to dementia. Training videos and modules are all roughly five minutes long, and content topics include”Aging and Brain Health,” “Care Planning,” “Injury and Fall Prevention,” “Personal Care Tasks,” “Management of Behavioral Symptoms of Dementia” and more.
Injury Prevention Program
“It’s actually a fall prevention program that will install safety devices primarily in the bathroom to prevent a fall,” Urban says.
Staff makes an assessment of an individual’s home and may install one or more of the following items:
- grab bars
- shower chairs
- transfer benches
- handheld shower heads
- toilet assist rails
- raised toilet seats
- indoor and outdoor handrails
- smoke alarms
Help with grass cutting and snow removal is offered through Macomb Community Action’s Chore Services. Lawns are cut weekly or bi-weekly depending on the weather. Snow removal is done after a snowfall of two or more inches.
In order to be considered for these services, a person must be a Macomb County resident who is age 60-plus. Spots are limited.
Those looking for additional information and resources can contact the Macomb County Office of Senior Services at 586-469-6999. It’s an important call to make – especially for caregivers.
“I happen to be a caregiver myself. There are many challenges caregivers are faced with – managing doctor’s appointments; medication management; safety in the home; providing nutritional meals; honoring wishes to age in place and spending quality time with them all while working full-time and caring for their own family. This can lead to caregiver stress,” Cote says. “We can provide guidance to caregivers in linking them to the right supports and services.”