Services for Seniors provides an important and relevant service to the county

“We are an aging county, and those needs are doing nothing but increasing,” said Carolyn Teeters, executive director of Services for Seniors on the importance and relevance of the program. “We want as many people over sixty to take advantage of our programs.” Photo by Lydia Ellefsen

WHEATLAND – Services for Seniors hosted a free movie at Cinema West and musical entertainment to celebrate Father’s Day, June 17, continuing to provide important services and socialization.

There is always an event to celebrate holidays Services for Seniors hosts. The Friday before Father’s Day this year, June 17, Mark DeLap provided musical entertainment, bringing his keyboard and singing. Additionally, Services for Seniors worked with Cinema West to sponsor a movie. The movie was free for seniors, though they had to purchase their own concessions, if they so desired. Normally, all seniors who go to regular movies have $5 rate. Cinema West played a first-run showing of Jurassic Dominion.

Services for Seniors is a non-profit, with centers in Wheatland, Chugwater, Guernsey, and Glendo. The program serves people over 60 years of age and has a staff of about 27, county-wide.

“The main goal is to seek out those who are most vulnerable and most in need,” said Carolyn Teeters, the program’s executive director. “If we can help with their mental attitude, with their physical health, with their nutritional health, give them a reason to get up and feel like they’re contributing, it’s a great thing to do. It doesn’t get better than that,” Teeters explained.

Teeters mentioned that Platte County is an aging county, aging exponentially.

“One out of every three seniors in Platte County is over sixty. A great percentage of those people are at or below poverty level.”

Services for Seniors has an activity center, offering exercise classes and a game room with a pool table, darts and game tables. They  also have a library, where books can be taken and returned on the honor system.

Services for Seniors also provides in-home service to keep seniors independent, in their homes as long as possible and out of nursing homes. Their programs help seniors have better life and saves state money and Medicaid expenses.

“The nursing home cost to Medicaid is huge,” Teeters remarked.

Federal and state grants help support the meals the program provides. Seniors can give a voluntary contribution of $4, but if they cannot contribute they can still enjoy the meal. Frozen entrees are also available for a purchase of $2. Additionally, anyone under the age of 60 can sign in as a guest and pay $7 for a meal.

The meals meet standards for including daily nutritional value, having to meet certain nutritional requirements. They also must be certified by a nutritionist.

Services for Seniors also offers Meals on Wheels, which provides meals to people who cannot travel or are ill. Last year, in in Platte County, across all four centers, around 52,000 meals were served.

“It’s not really for the nutritious meals. It’s really for the socialization that they know seniors need so badly,” said Teeters of the money their receive from the federal government.

Services for Seniors also promotes the Youth Alternative Foster Grandparent program, from AmeriCorps Seniors and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Many people over 60 still actively working, Teeters mentioned, and even if they are retired, they are still active.

“So many times they [seniors] want to do something. They’ve retired, and they’re healthy, but they want to do something. What a wonderful thing for them to do,” said Teeters.

Additionally, Services for Seniors participates in the Senior Companion program. In this program, people visit seniors who are alone and sit and talk with them, have coffee with them.

“You have no idea how lonely they get and what it means,” Teeters said of the Senior Companion program. “During COVID, you know you always hear that, and you always heard about how seniors need to have that contact and socialization, but I saw it for real, what it meant when they didn’t have it during that COVID. It was horrible. It had an awful, awful effect on them,” said Teeters.

Services for Seniors also has a radio program every week, Wednesday mornings, talking about the services offered and announcements for the week, the menu for the week and tips or information seniors need to know (such as about health or exercise). The radio program always ends in a joke, which people always look forward to.

“I don’t know if there’s anybody who doesn’t have somebody who’s a senior not touching their lives, you know, a parent, grandparent, an acquaintance who gets the services and benefits from those services,” said Teeters on the importance and impact of the program.

Senior District Board with elected board members, working with Services for Seniors and the budget.

“They are the ones who have given us a very gracious activity budget,” said Teeters of the board.

The Board also oversees the mill levy. The mill levy is a personal property levy, which helps support Services for Seniors.

“The mill levy is probably about 48% if not a little more of our budget,” said Teeters on the importance of the levy to the programs.

“I always just encourage everybody to please vote yes for that levy because without it, there would be no senior centers in Platte County,” Teeters said.

The mill levy is up for election this November.

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