COMMUNITY NEED: With 92% of our participants living alone, Heritage Place recognizes the importance of providing activities for vulnerable older adults who live alone or who are at high risk for social isolation.
Research shows that socially isolated older adults are at high risk for poor health and for poor physical, mental, emotional and social functioning. In fact, being a part of a social network of friends and family is one of the most dependable predictors of health and longevity. ("Senior Centers, Opportunities for Successful Aging", Beverly A. Beisgen & Marilyn Crouch Kraitchman, 2003) Health risks associated with social isolation have been compared in magnitude to the well-known dangers of smoking cigarettes and obesity (House 2001). Individuals who lack social connections or report frequent feelings of loneliness tend to suffer higher rates of morbidity and mortality (Brummett et al. 2001; Seeman 2000; Uchino, Cacioppo, and Kiecolt-Glaser 1996), as well as infection (Cohen et al. 1997; Pressman et al. 2005), depression (Heikkinen and Kauppinen 2004), and cognitive decline (Barnes et al. 2004; Wilson et al. 2007).
Heritage Place recognizes that the provision of senior-friendly center-based social and recreational services is a way to ensure that the basic social needs of vulnerable older adults are met.
PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Open Monday through Friday, Heritage Place offers senior-friendly classes, activities, seminars and events in our Senior Center Program. Our center-based classes and activities all have an educational foundation, yet become a social connection for the older adult participants. Our service model is very successful in delivering services directly to older adults. Participation in these programs often leads to meeting other basic needs, ride sharing, information sharing, emotional support and the adoption of other healthy behaviors.
The weekly class schedule is perpetual for 52 weeks of the year and all classes and services are taught or led by volunteers. Classes for 2018 include:
a) Arts & Crafts - Knitting, Loom Knitting and Crocheting for a Cause, and Sewing Class.
b) Bridge - meets 4 times per week.
c) Education -Inspirational Studies, SHIP (Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program), Spanish Class, Computer Classes and Computer Tutoring.
d) Fitness - Line Dance Class (4x/week), Chair Aerobics Class (3x/week), Senior Yoga Class, and Balance and Stability Class.
e) Music - Choir.
f) Scrabble Club
g) Health - Foot Care.
The monthly class schedule is perpetual for 12 months of the year and volunteers lead all the classes and activities.
a) Education - Genealogy Studies Group, and Grief and Loss Support.
c) Health and Personal Care - Blood Pressure Screenings, and Manicures.
d) Recreation - Bingo.
e) Outing Groups - Out to Lunch Group and Out to Culture Group
Heritage Place also schedules 36-40 educational seminars and services throughout the year. Examples include Medicare Benefits, Tax Form Preparation Services, Avoiding Fraud and Scams, AARP Driver Safety Class, Heart Health Awareness, Diabetic Shoes, Battling Weight Gain, Medicare Open Enrollment, Organizing Legal Papers, Preparing Your Will, Caregiver Wellness, Black History, Nutrition Seminar, and Disaster Preparedness.
Events are also an important part of the Senior Center Program providing opportunities for education, as well as, social interaction. Examples of annual events include Spring Fling and Holiday Celebration.
PROGRAM IMPACT: At the end of fiscal year 2016-17, 97% of our Senior Center Program participants reported that participating in Heritage Place programs has helped them to stay socially active.
An increasing number of older adults are living alone. This presents a new set of challenges, especially for those with health issues. It also brings with it a new set of fears.
For Judy, those fears and challenges include falling when no one is there to help her, having someone break into her house, and maintaining her home and yard.
Judy came to Heritage Place about 20 years ago when someone she knew mentioned the services they had to offer. Instantly, she found a place to belong. "I was looking for a place to fit in, make friends, and exercise," Judy said.
Judy's favorite classes to attend here are the exercise classes. She says that they give her confidence and make her stronger helping her to avoid falls. They also help to lessen her fear of falling alone and not being able to get up safely.
Judy also works with the Heritage Place Home Services Manager who recruits volunteers who do yard work projects. She truly appreciates the work the volunteers do for her, keeping her home in good working order and maintaining her yard.
Judy also appreciates the informational classes and seminars that are held at Heritage Place. They provide a comfortable environment for older adults to learn about critical topics such as scams that take advantage of older adults. With these seminars, she feels more at ease and prepared, to avoid fraud and scams.
It is not just the classes and seminars that keep Judy coming back to Heritage Place. It is also the sense of community and family that its members create. During classes, teachers and students are supportive of one another.
No one is pushed past their physical limits. Everyone is encouraged to participate at their ability level, and accommodations are available for those who face restrictions.
---Judy, a participant in Heritage Place programs
Your generous donation will give Judy and hundreds of other older adults the opportunity to participate in the vital services and life-changing programs that are offered daily at Heritage Place.
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Heritage Place of Indianapolis, Inc. provides older adults with comprehensive and coordinated human services to encourage and promote healthy lifestyles, independence, well-being and quality of life. Through center-based activities and in-home services, we create opportunities for independence using the platforms of education & learning, companionship & fellowship and community resources information. Our programs address the critical older adult issues of obesity, poverty and social isolation.