Volunteers organizing efforts to help seniors
by BRIAN NADIG
Volunteers in partnership with the Portage Park Senior Satellite Center, 4100 N. Long Ave., are organizing efforts to bring resources to seniors who want to remain living in their homes and help those in need to re-integrate into the community.
In recent years, the city Department of Family and Support Services has been encouraging the formation of "villages" which bring local organizations, social agencies and businesses together to pool resources.
"You try to collaborate with everyone in the community to address (and) assess the needs of seniors," said Bob Wolf, a volunteer on a 15-member board which was recently established to set up a village to serve Portage Park and Jefferson Park.
Wolf spoke about the village initiative at an Aug. 16 multi-chamber meeting at the Meditation Center of Chicago, 5849 N. Nina Ave. Members of the Portage Park, Norwood Park, Gladstone Park and Jefferson Park chambers of commerce attended the meeting.
In some instances seniors have lost their spouse and their friends and rarely leave their home, Wolf said.
"The isolated senior. Everyone probably knows someone like this," he said.
Efforts are being made to reach out to home healthcare providers to better identify those seniors who could benefit from a weekly visit from a neighbor or could use some encouragement to come out to a local event, Wolf said.
Surveys reveal that seniors are looking for art workshops, exercise clinics, lectures and entertainment options, Wolf said. In existing villages, restaurants have created specially priced menus for seniors one day a month, and theaters have been hosting performances for seniors, he said.
The village concept also is designed to provide assistance to seniors who struggle to maintain their home but want to continue to live there, Wolf said. In these instances, the homeowners could be partnered with a local Boy Scout troop whose members can shovel around their home and mow the lawn, he said.
The village is looking for volunteers, including help with its communication and program committees. A village meeting will be held from 11 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Sept. 19, at the Portage Park senior center.
For more information, call the Portage Park center at 312-744-9057 or send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also at the meeting, representatives of the meditation center outlined its services, including workshops, seasonal retreats and youth programs.
For more information, visit www.dmcchicago.org.