Helping seniors stay healthy

Published 3:36 pm Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ask seniors where they’d like to spend their day, and they’d likely say in the comfort of their own home. By providing support services to seniors, the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (M4A) is helping individuals 60 years of age and older do just that.

Many seniors don’t need much to be self-sufficient, but the provision of a hot meal or other safety devices makes a significant difference in their quality of life.

Through grants by the Shelby County Community Health Foundation (SCCHF) and the Alabama Department of Senior Services (ADSS), M4A is able to provide individuals 60 and older with meals five days a week as well as equip them with LifeLine, an emergency alert service device.

The nutritional meals are available Monday through Friday during the lunch hour. For seniors who can drive and are interested in interacting with other seniors or participating in activities, meals can be received at one of six senior centers in the county. For those who cannot drive or leave their home, meals are delivered by volunteers.

The LifeLine emergency alert service is a lightweight necklace that alerts the fire department, police department or 911 when the senior activates a button on the necklace. Although most people think of these devices exclusively for medical situations, such as falls or chest pains, it can be used to report a suspected break in or fire.

“These grants have enabled us to provide exceptional services to more individuals than we have in the past and for that we’re grateful,” said Carolyn Fortner, executive director of M4A. “To know we’re helping our seniors continue to live as they choose, by their own direction, is heartwarming. And, it is the trend of the future in senior services.”

Both of these programs are provided free of charge to seniors in Shelby County. Although donations are accepted, seniors are not required to donate to receive services. Interested seniors are asked to contact M4A at 670-5770 to learn more about these programs.