M4A stresses seniors use toll-free number

Published 1:09 pm Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Senior citizens in the Shelby, Chilton, St. Clair, Blount and Walker County areas who need help with meals, transportation, housework, yard work, home repairs, legal paperwork and more are encouraged to call 1-800-AGE-LINE (253-5463).

That was the message from the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (M4A) May 17 as the organization held a public hearing at the County Services Building in Pelham.

Carolyn Fortner, the M4A executive director, spoke during the meeting, and she stressed how vital is for seniors to take advantage of the services provided by the M4A.

“When someone has a utility bill that they can’t pay, they don’t know who to call,” Fortner said. “We know those resources and we can cut down on the time a person spends trying to get help.

“We’re not the end all, be all; we’re not the silver bullet, but we are in a unique position to connect our clients with resources,” she added.

Fortner also outlined the four strategic objectives and four focus areas of the U.S. Administration on Aging.

The four objectives include empowering seniors and their families to make informed decisions, enabling seniors to remain in their homes with a high quality of life for as long as possible, empowering seniors to stay healthy and ensuring the rights of seniors to prevent abuse and neglect.

“The goal of health care coordination is to limit hospitalization,” Fortner said. “Something as simple as medication management could limit the number of hospitalizations.

“They want to be at home; they want to age in peace,” she added.

The four focus areas include Title VII vulnerable elder rights, disaster preparedness, faith-based initiatives and health care system coordination.

Fortner said without the relationship with the faith community, the work the M4A does would not be possible.

“If it wasn’t for our faith-based community, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do,” she said.

Fortner also discussed a needs assessment survey conducted by the M4A, which address issues that are important to the senior community.

Ranking on top of the survey was having meals delivered to the seniors’ homes, along with assistance in preparing meals.

“And we hear that at every meeting we go to,” Fortner said.

In addition to the May 17 public hearing, the M4A also held meetings in each county it serves.

Any senior needing assistance or any organizations such as churches that would like to assist in the efforts of M4A should call 1-800-AGE-LINE (253-5463).