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Young at Heart August 2021

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M o v e t o D o m i n i c a n O a k s a n d e x p e r i e n c e l i f e w i t h o u t c o n c e r n f o r l i f e ' s d a i l y c h o r e s . W e p r o v i d e y o u 3 h o m e c o o k e d m e a l s a d a y , w e e k l y h o u s e k e e p i n g , a c c e s s t o a c t i v i t i e s a n d e x e r c i s e c l a s s e s a n d l o c a l t r a n s p o r t a t i o n . S p e n d y o u r t i m e d o i n g w h a t y o u w a n t t o d o a n d n o t w h a t y o u h a v e t o . Lic# 440708773 A part of Dignity Health and Dominican Hospital C A L L U S A T 8 3 1 . 4 6 2 . 6 2 5 7 F O R A S A F E G U I D E D T O U R We seek a community where people age at home with dignity and good health. We seek a community where all people receive supportive health and social services in the least restrictive environment possible Health Projects Center supports people as they age to live safely at home by delivering high quality services and programs in the Monterey Bay Region. TO HELP PEOPLE AGE AT HOME, WE WORK ON 3 LEVELS. Dignity and Health for an Aging Population Serving the Monterey Bay Region Since 1980 1-800-624-8304 www.hpcn.org | www.delmarcaregiver.org Central Coast Area Health Education Center We strengthen and support the health care workforce to more effectively address geriatrics and chronic care management. Del Mar Caregiver Resource Center We support family caregivers to provide and sustain quality care to their loved ones, and to take better care of their own physical and mental health. Multipurpose Senior Services Program We manage health care and supportive services for medically frail low-income elders so that they can stay safely at home. August 2021 edition Special Advertising Supplement to the Santa Cruz Sentinel Get to Know the Volunteer Center's Senior Programs By Tara Fatemi Walker There are seniors of all kinds; some need physical help with tasks like grocery shopping or something more intricate like needing a shower bar installed after an injury or a medical procedure. There are those who need a friendly person to talk to, and others who need a ride to a doctor's ap- pointment. Then there are seniors who have the time, ability and desire—and for select undertakings, good physical condition—to accomplish these tasks for those in need. No matter which category you fall under, the Santa Cruz Volunteer Center's Senior Programs can help you make a connection. They've done so for de- cades—the Center started in 1967—and during the pandemic even added programs and adjusted options to meet changing community needs. Transportation and Help- ing Hands are two Senior Programs that receive many requests. These both shut down their regular offerings from March 2020 until May 2021 due to the pandemic. But the Transportation program was able to pivot. Instead of providing rides to medical appointments and grocery stores, the Center started a Grocery Shopper Program to make sure seniors in need had access to food and medications. We'll provide more details on this later in the article. Tara Ireland, who has served as the Volunteer Center's Senior Programs Manager for about five years, also directs the local AmeriCorps Seniors Program. It's the perfect job for Ireland, who loves helping people. "I espe- cially love connecting older adults with meaning- ful volunteer opportuni- ties that serve vulnerable populations," she says. "We live in such a kind and generous community. Every day I am amazed and inspired at how people step forward to lend a hand to benefit others." With the support of her talented Senior Programs Team, Ireland says, they have made progress in being able to serve more older adults with rides through the Transportation Department. "We were able to build and custom- ize a computer app that has allowed us to double the number of rides we give and increase our capacity to help more se- niors." The app also maps volunteers' proximity to individual participants and estimates miles to various locations. This reduces travel time and enables more efficient matches. Home repair program Helping Hands provides free home safety checks, plus basic modifications that prevent falls in the home, to low- and fixed-income senior homeowners who live in Santa Cruz County. "Help- ing Hands is important because the service helps reduce falls," says Ireland. "Often times the installa- tion of a few grab bars can make the difference in the decision of whether or not a person recovering from a surgery or illness is able to be released from the hospital to their home." Some seniors who reach out are desperate for assistance in receiving bars in their shower or near an entrance and are unable to get calls back from contractors. "When people call Helping Hands they are greeted by a kind, patient and competent vol- unteer or staff person who listens and understands the struggles they may be facing," says Ireland. "They are able to connect them with a qualified volunteer handyperson. Treating everyone with kindness and respect, especially when they are facing significant challenges, is one of our program pillars and one of the main reasons why our service is so valuable." Bob Leaf, who has been a Helping Hands Volun- teer for 23 years, served on the board of a local nonprofit before becom- ing a volunteer for the Volunteer Center at the age of 60. "My hearing got so bad it was difficult, so I looked for something else," he shares. "Hav- ing always been a DIY person, Helping Hands was and is a perfect fit." Now 83 years old, Leaf feels that if people are capable, they should give something to help others. His typical job is install- ing grab bars in bath- rooms. "I have installed handrails on stairs, rebuilt stairs, worked on handi- cap ramps, put in smoke alarms, even replaced light bulbs. A normal job usually requires two bars, but my record is 14 in one house over a two-year period." He estimates he has installed several thou- sand grab bars over the years. "What I do is fun and that is important. It is Young at Heart Young at Heart In Santa Cruz County Continue on page 2 A recipient of Stay Connected services

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