Ombudsmen are faces for advocacy, help nursing home residents with their concerns, and support the local aging population.
Learn more about becoming a PA Volunteer Long-Term Care Ombudsman by calling 717-783-8975 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!
Jack Futrick has been a Blair Senior Services, Inc. volunteer for the past 13 years.
Jack started his volunteer work with Blair Senior Services, Inc. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). Jack stated, “Well, when you are retired it can be challenging to find things to do. I had taken a tax course many years earlier so I thought it was a good place to start.” In addition to VITA, Jack now volunteers for the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program through Blair Senior Services.
Jack helps prepare consumers’ taxes through the VITA program during the tax season at our Northern Blair Senior Center location. If eligible, Jack will also assist consumers with Property and/or Rent Rebates after preparing their tax return. For the Farmers’ Market program, he interviews the consumers to see if they qualify and, if so, will issue the Farmers’ Market vouchers to them. With the Commodity Box program, he verifies the consumer’s or proxy’s identity and obtains signatures to confirm the consumer’s box was picked up for the month. At the time of recertification, he assists by checking ID and confirming income eligibility. “They are such great programs that really help the older adults in the area,” Jack said.
When asked what he liked the most about volunteering for Blair Senior Services, “I love to meet the people and when I am done helping them just the smiles on their face. The complete gratitude they have is such a great reward. I like meeting so many new people also,” Jack said. One special memory he has is of a woman who came in to have her taxes done. Jack explained, “Once I was done with her taxes and she saw how much she would be getting back in a refund, and the fact she wasn’t charged for the taxes being done, she started to cry with appreciation. I will never forget how grateful she was.”
Jack said they are always in need of help with the VITA program and all the volunteer programs at Blair Senior Services, Inc. “You should try volunteering. Such a rewarding feeling knowing you are helping others,” he said.
If you or your group is interested in volunteering for this program or any of the programs offered, please call Blair Senior Services, Inc. at 814-946-1235.
Tina Fultz has been working for Blair Senior Services since December 2012, when she applied for a position open with the Agency.
Tina is the Northern Blair Senior Center Coordinator for Blair Senior Services, Inc. In that capacity, Tina oversees the day-to-day operations at the Center, planning all activities and preparing and serving of the meals to the consumers who visit the Center. Tina also holds the paint classes at all of the Blair Senior Services’ Senior Centers. Tina said, “I used to attend paint classes with my friends and at one of the classes I thought to myself, ‘I could teach this at the Center!’ So it started and has really taken off. I now have a paint class every month at the Northern Blair Senior Center and every other month at the other Blair Senior Services Centers.”
When asking Tina what she liked most about her job she stated, “This truly is the best job I have ever had! It uses all my skill sets I have acquired over the years. The most rewarding thing is to work at a place where everyone loves and appreciates you. I feel that with my job. It is the most rewarding job I have ever had!”
Tina said one of many special memories she had while working at Blair Senior Services, Inc. was at a Phil McCaulley Concert at the Northern Blair Senior Center. She stated, “We had a group of Skills consumers who attended Phil’s concert here that day with our senior consumers. One guest was pretending to strum a guitar in the audience while Phil was performing. Phil called him up and actually put his guitar on the gentleman and had him play or strum along as he sang. The gentleman had the biggest smile and all that attended were standing up and clapping and cheering him on. It just filled my heart with so much love to see all this kindness for him and support for one another. Such a heartwarming experience!”
Tina stated that Blair Senior Services, Inc. is always in need of volunteers. She is always looking for volunteers at the Northern Blair Senior Center to help in the kitchen with cleaning and cooking. Also for volunteers to help teach a craft class, crochet class, etc. If you are interested in volunteering for this or for one of the many Blair Senior Services, Inc. programs, please call 814-946-1235.
What do you think of when someone says the words “senior center”? Do you picture older people sitting around playing bingo and shuffleboard? Eating bland meals while a television is blaring?
It is time to update your vision! Senior Centers are not what they used to be. Today’s Senior Center is a vibrant, action-packed combination of fitness center, information and resources, volunteering headquarters, a transportation hub and tasty lunch dining.
For older persons at risk of losing their self-sufficiency, Senior Centers are an entry point to an array of services that will assist them as they “age in place.”
Across the country, more and more people are beginning to recognize that their local senior center has changed as a gateway for older adults to connect with others in their communities. Senior Centers offer older adults vital community services that can help them stay healthy and independent.
Senior Centers offer a wide range of health, education, recreation, volunteer and other social interaction opportunities for their participants that enhance dignity, support independence, and encourage community involvement. Centers are also a resource for the entire community, providing services and information on aging, and assisting family and friends who care for older persons.
Senior Centers aren’t just for card games! Sure, cards are available (and fun and challenging), but most Senior Centers offer far more than that! Everything from trips and special events to fine arts and crafts, music and dance, lifelong learning, and fitness and health programs can be found at the centers.
Angel Dandrea, Volunteer Program Supervisor for Blair Senior Services, Inc., states “Some of our most popular things to do at the Senior Centers are the exercise classes, paint parties and our evening dinner dances. The men really enjoy playing pool in our pool room at the Central Blair Senior Center.”
Senior Centers are a great place to find volunteering opportunities. Older adults who are looking for volunteer opportunities or paid volunteer opportunities to supplement their retirement income, should stop by their local senior center to learn about what is available. Blair Senior Services, Inc. offers stipend volunteer positions with plenty of training, such as the Foster Grandparent Program where older adults are making a difference in young lives by volunteering, or the Senior Companion Program where volunteers spend time enriching the lives of another older adult through companionship. The Senior Center staff are always looking for seniors who want to share their talents and knowledge with others in the form of no cost workshops or leading clubs at the Senior Centers. Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community.
Senior Centers are also a great place to get healthy. Health and fitness are areas that Blair Senior Services, Inc. has really expanded in recent years. Blair Senior Services’ Senior Centers offer programs such as light aerobics, Zumba, Yoga, and Tai Chi. According to Aubrey Lidwell, Community Services Program Coordinator at Blair Senior Services, Inc., “Our Centers have an overwhelming response to the exercise and Tai Chi classes with our four centers holding approximately 65 classes combined per week. Our instructors do a great job of incorporating all levels of fitness into the programs. The best part is that it is free to the seniors!”
Angel Dandrea states, “Senior Centers play a very important role in the lives of older adults today by encouraging them to become, and remain, social. Socializing can help older adults improve their physical health, reduce risks of depression, increase their cognitive functioning and create a sense of belonging. We have so many different things to offer and it varies at each center, which really helps the consumers with a variety of things to choose from. Participants can attend any of the activities at any center, not just the ones they may live closest to. Our vans are available for transportation by appointment during daytime activities.”
Senior Centers are one of the most accessible, friendly, and inexpensive places that offer programs and services that promote active engagement and enjoyment of life by older adults.
The following list of activities and services are typical of programs offered by the Blair Senior Services, Inc. Senior Centers:
Daily meals served at the Centers; Nutrition Education; Farmers Market Vouchers; Commodity Box Program
Light Aerobics; Yoga; Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention; Healthy Steps in Motion; Zumba; Cardio Circuit; Line Dancing
Blood pressure checks; flu shots; hearing assessments; health presentations; chronic disease and diabetes self-management workshops, etc.
Information and Assistance
Medicare counseling; referral and connection to appropriate community support services; Protective Services; caregiver information, etc.
Computer, Pinterest, Facebook Classes; Gardening Classes; Cooking Classes; Essential Oils Workshops
Tax preparation; rent rebate form assistance, etc.
Social Events and Programs
Musical entertainment, evening dinner/dances and paint parties; birthday parties; cards; pool table; paint and craft classes; etc.
These are just a few of the activities and services provided by Blair Senior Services’ Senior Centers. For more information or a complete list, visit their website at www.blairsenior.org.
Despite their variations, Senior Centers fill certain common purposes. “Whether it’s as a learning center or a place where people can come to find new ideas, to share their own ideas, be able to be creative, in a paint class or an exercise class, people want a common, safe, fun, helpful place to do that,” says Aubrey Lidwell.
“A personal touch is what sets our Senior Centers apart from other aging-related services,” Dandrea says. “If you talk to the people who come here, they would say it’s a warm and welcoming place. A place where they’re treated as individuals and responded to and respected. Where they’re known and can make it their place to socialize and meet friends.”
“One challenge is the term ‘Senior Center’, which can be off-putting in a culture in which people don’t want to think of themselves as aging or see themselves as older adults,” Lidwell states. “This is why we try to reinvent or add programs that are changing with the needs and requests of the consumers.”
There are many benefits to older adults who visit the Senior Centers. Some of which include:
Seniors who attend Senior Center activities on a regular basis are shown to have better emotional health. A Senior Center offers an escape from lonely homes, lonely lives and isolation.
Socialization is extremely important to happy senior living. Seniors who participate in center activities enjoy being around others their age, sharing stories and participating in community activities. Older individuals who would normally be isolated are offered the chance to maintain friendships and create new ones.
This is probably the most important of the unspoken Senior Center benefits. Senior Centers generally offer services from 8:00 in the morning to 4:00 in the afternoon. This means that if a senior wants to spend their day at the center, they could have lunch, beverages, participate in free health evaluations and other benefits that would normally be far outside of their monthly budget. Just one balanced meal per day and the chance to socialize with friends offers many aging adults benefits beyond measure.
Blair Senior Services’ Senior Centers are a treasure chest of not only a substantial daily meal, but a safe haven for companionship, health and wellness, plus numerous activities for the body and mind.
September is National Senior Center Month. Make a plan to visit your local senior center this month and see all the benefits you can discover.
For a list of monthly activities by individual centers, lunch menus and more information on all the services offered by Blair Senior Services, Inc., please visit their website at www.blairsenior.org or call 814-946-1235.
Thank you to our 2018 Blair County Senior Olympics Sponsors and Contributors
Hillview Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center
Keller Engineers, Inc.
Klesius & Sheedy, Inc.
Maybrook Hills Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center
Traficante Family Chiropractic
Conemaugh Nason Medical Center
DelGrosso Family of Companies
Bavarian Aid Society
Blair Regional YMCA
Highland Park and Central Blair Recreation Commission
Hollidaysburg Area School District
Hollidaysburg Sportsmen’s Club
Northern Blair County Recreation Center
Sylvan Hills Golf Course
The Meadows Original Frozen Custard
Trinity United Methodist Church of Roaring Spring
Blair Senior Services, Inc. Home Delivered Meals Program is participating in the GIVE65 Event to help seniors right here in Blair County.
Your gift, in any amount, will make a real difference in people’s lives and in our community as we strive to continue to serve Blair County’s older residents.
There are family members, neighbors and friends in our community with limited resources who need your help. As we age, things that we take for granted such as bathing, a hot meal and transportation, become a real challenge. Unfortunately, government funding is not sufficient to meet the needs that exist in our community. The Home Delivered Meals Program is one of the most basic ways that Blair Senior Services, Inc. can accomplish its mission of meeting the nutritional needs and improving and maintaining the health and well-being of older individuals in our community. Over the last year, the Agency has served some 10,000 consumers. Of those consumers, 7,000 are older individuals, the majority of which have incomes near or below the poverty level. We’re asking for your help as our Agency strives to continue to our county’s older residents.
Our Goal is $25,000
We have the chance to not only receive up to $5,000 in matching funds, but we are also competing for an additional $10,000 in financial rewards based on how much we raise or how many donors give.
Please visit https://www.give65.org/bsshdm to donate!
Community Service Announcement
DATE: June 29, 2018
FOR RELEASE: Immediately
Blair Senior Services, Inc. Extreme Weather Advisory for Older Adults
Altoona, PA: As extremely hot, humid weather is forecasted across the state for the upcoming week, health and aging officials would like to remind all Pennsylvanians to take the necessary precautions to remain healthy and safe.
During the hot weather advisory, Blair Senior Services, Inc. would like to remind the area’s older adults that heat relief is available Monday through Friday at each of their Senior Centers during the following regular business hours: Central Blair Senior Center (located in downtown Altoona) 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Southern Blair Senior Center (located in East Freedom) 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Northern Blair Senior Center (located in Tyrone) 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Williamsburg Senior Center from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. For additional information on each of the Centers, including directions, visit Blair Senior Services, Inc.’s website at www.blairsenior.org/senior-centers.
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Patricia Reidy has been volunteering for the Apprise Program and VITA Program at Blair Senior Services for the last 4 years. Patricia volunteers 1 day a week answering phones for the Apprise program. Patricia worked for the telephone company for 45 years so she thought this would be a good fit for her. During tax season, she volunteers 3 days a week helping prepare taxes. “It has helped me to keep busy”, states Patricia.
For Apprise, Patricia answers the phones and helps to answer very basic Medicare questions and is able to acquire information to direct the person calling to the right office or Medicare insurance counselor.
When asked what she likes the most about volunteering for Blair Senior Services, Patricia stated,
“Everyone at Blair Senior Services is so helpful and nice. I enjoy getting out of my house and being able to give back.”
Patricia would definitely encourage others to help volunteer saying, “There is always a need. Blair Senior Services provides so many services to the area and the more people who help the better it is for the volunteers and the consumers. It is a great way to stay busy and give back.”
If you or your group is interested in volunteering for this program or any of the programs offered, please call Blair Senior Services, Inc. at 814-946-1235.
Scott Moyer has been working for Blair Senior Services, Inc. for almost 2 years now. He initially applied with the Agency as a van driver, but ended up working in the Apprise Department and helping with consumer education activities.
Scott meets with consumers regarding Medicare options and provides them with information and knowledge so they are able to choose the plan that is best or make informed decisions when changing their current plan coverage.
When asked what he likes best about working for Blair Senior Services, Scott stated, “I enjoy helping people. This is a way to get out of the house but know that I am making a difference by helping people. I also like the staff and all the education the Agency provides you to do the best job you can to help the consumers.”
Scott’s favorite memory thus far was the warm welcome he received from the staff when he first started with Blair Senior Services.
Scott stated he would definitely encourage people to work or volunteer stating,
“Blair Senior Services has great opportunities in both the volunteer and work capacities. If you are looking for something to do you should try it. It’s a great place to be and know you are part of an agency making a big difference in the senior community.”
If you are interested in volunteering for one of the many programs at Blair Senior Services, Inc., please call 814-946-1235.