Senior Companions serving older, frail and disabled adults in Ellis County were honored for their service at the monthly in-service meeting held Wednesday at Sternberg Museum.
Those recognized for their service from Hays were Don Zurenko for one year; Randy Kutscher, one year; Sherrill Wendel, seven years; Linda North two years; Millie Karlin, 18 years; Rebecca Hill-Winslow, two years; Connie Smith, three years; and Sandra House, eight years. Ellis Companions Dennis Bollig was honored for eight years and Adeline Henderson for 17 years with the program.
Senior Companions help frail elderly, homebound seniors, isolated and other adults maintain independence to remain in their own homes. The assistance from a Senior Companion often helps the individuals avoid costly institutional care. The Companions may help with daily living tasks such as grocery shopping and transportation to medical appointments. They can remind their clients to take their medication, assist with light household chores, accompany them on walks and get to social and recreational events. They also provide respite care for family caregivers. There is no cost for the services provided.
Those needing assistance qualify by being at least 21 years of age and having a need. Individuals who qualify to serve as a Senior Companion may receive certain benefits for their time helping others: a tax-free stipend, travel allowance, paid vacation and sick leave, accident and liability insurance, paid training and recognition. All volunteers are given background checks.
The Programs are sponsored by Fort Hays State University, and funded by the Corporation for National & Community Service. The Programs receive local support from Ellis County, the Cities of Ellis and Victoria. For information about the Programs, one may call FHSU at 785-628-5809.