Senior Companions help elderly, disabled

4/15/2008

Special to The Hays Daily News

Six volunteers with the Senior Companion Program were honored for their service at the April 2 training at Sternberg Museum of Natural History: Harold Woodford, Marlaine Gottschalk, Eva Zachman, Mary Ann Gebert and Jim Drees of Hays; and Mildred Jinks of Ellis each celebrated their anniversaries with the program during this quarter.

More than 6,000 hours of personal and family support were given by these volunteers toward helping frail elderly remain independently in their homes and providing respite care for family caregivers.

Gebert and Gottschalk were recognized for three years; Drees for five years; Jinks for seven years; Woodford for nine years and Zachman for 23 years. All provide service to people in homes.

Senior Companions are volunteers who help elderly and disabled persons remain independent. They provide respite care for family caregivers. Other volunteers assist with light household chores, transportation needs and companionship. There is no cost for the services provided through the program.

John Klaus with Adult Protective Services, SRS, and Sylvia Reinhardt with Heartland Lions Eye Bank were the featured speakers at the training. Klaus spoke of the role of SRS in helping persons who might be victims of neglect, abuse and self-neglect. Reinhardt spoke of the importance of considering organ donations for individuals and for research.

The Senior Companion Program is sponsored by Fort Hays State University and funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Ellis County and the city of Ellis support the program. For information, call FHSU at (785) 628-5809.

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