Embrace the Power of 2
Adult Resource Alliance seeks volunteers to serve two hours a week to help our community’s seniors
Once a week, Pam Hofferber grabs her husband, Mike, gets in the car and spends two hours delivering hot and nutritious meals for Adult Resource Alliance’s Meals on Wheels program. It’s a win-win in her mind. She gets to serve the seniors in the community, plus, she says, “Afterward, Mike and I go out to lunch together, so it’s always a date day for us.”
She’s not only a volunteer, she’s one who has learned firsthand about some of the Alliance’s services.
“They helped me sort through my prescription drug coverage once I turned 65 and helped me figure out the best price and the best option since I’m on a specialty medication,” Pam says, calling their help a godsend.
Knowing the good that happens under and beyond the Alliance’s roof, she’s now helping to champion the rollout of a brand-new program, telling others like her to “Embrace the Power of 2” and give two hours a week volunteering to help a senior in need.
The Alliance was recently awarded a $180,000 grant through Community Care Corps to help fill some much-needed gaps in senior care. When asked, 90 percent of adults over 65 want to stay in their homes as they grow older for as long as they can. The grant will help create what Executive Director Mike Larson calls a “Senior Circle of Care” so seniors can do just that.
“We’ve lost 11 nursing homes in the state in the last six months. Even before we started to see this trend, we saw more and more seniors who were struggling,” Mike says. “One thing we know is, it’s better financially but we also know it’s better for that senior’s psychological and physical health to remain independently in their own home.”
Evelyn Dempsey, who will head up this new program, calls many of the seniors they plan to serve “the forgotten middle.”
“They are those individuals who are just over what the government considers the poverty line,” Evelyn says. “They still can’t afford the services, but they need them. They need the support, but they can’t afford to pay to have a personal care assistant to help them in their homes.”
The Senior Care Circle is made up of 10 different services — everything from grocery shopping and minor home repair to assistance with pets and lawn care. By helping take of these things, Mike says, “You can extend how much longer a senior could be in their own home — for years or even indefinitely.”
The innovative part of the Senior Circle of Care that it is powered entirely by volunteers.
“We need to have answers for this, and they don’t need to be extensive and they don’t need to be a huge financial burden,” Mike says. “We have people who want to help and if we find the appropriate way to use them, I think it can make a huge impact.”
The Alliance currently has a pool of roughly 450 volunteers. When this program begins in April, they’ll need about 650 in order to reach seniors in need. That’s why the push is on to find those people willing to give a few hours out of their week.
“We are really looking forward to increasing our volunteer pool and having flexible opportunities for people to get involved in something that gives back,” Evelyn says. She knows that when a volunteer invests in a senior, the friendship and companionship goes both ways.
“To see something of this magnitude come together and push the needle to help seniors stay in their own homes — it’s exciting,” Evelyn says.
“For two hours a week, you can make a significant difference in the life of a senior,” Mike says. “Some of these opportunities wouldn’t take much more than two hours a week. Embracing the power of two – just give two hours.”
The Senior Care Circle
Ways you can help Adult Resource Alliance to serve seniors
1. Pantry Pals: volunteers help with grocery shopping or errands
2. Transportation Services: volunteers help get seniors to their appointments
3. Minor Home Repair: volunteers could do something as simple as change a furnace filter, fix a railing on a staircase or add safety by installing things like grab bars.
4. Meals on Wheels: nutritious meals delivered daily to seniors in need
5. Snow Removal
6. Lawn Care
7. Pet Care: with the help of the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter, volunteers check to make sure animals are being cared for
8. Bookkeeping Assistance
9. Social Buddies: volunteers check in by calling seniors to make sure they are doing well
10. Friend Companions: volunteers visit a senior’s home to provide them companionship
Did you know? 43 percent of American seniors aren’t confident they could afford personal and home services if needed.