Senior Care: Essential conversations and connections
Staffer Gina Hensley puts years of experience into the job
Senior Care is a new program at West Central Missouri Community Action Agency designed to ensure that elderly residents of the rural area never run into a dead-end when looking for the help they need.
Gina Hensley is a Senior Care associate who makes sure of that.
“This isn’t just my job; this is my life,” she said. “I love the feeling I get when I am able to help someone who really needs it. This job is so rewarding.”
The goal of the program is to aid seniors in maintaining independent living. Gina’s dedication to the program does exactly that.
Real world experience
Gina’s familiarity with the everyday challenges that seniors face is a big help. She has worked for more than 12 years as an in-home aide assisting homebound elderly and others in daily tasks. Now with Senior Care she is in position to go find the answers they need, and pull in others to help, too.
Gina has helped seniors solve problems, such as finding home weatherization resources and home and medical appliances. She has helped seniors work through applications and requirements of different programs, such as the Supplemental Food and Nutrition Program (SNAP). The list goes on and includes such things as home-delivered meals, transportation, Medicare/Medicaid advisors, and utility assistance.
Finding seniors what they need, not just telling them what you, in particular, have to offer, is the Senior Care Program difference. It connects seniors to resources across the region, whether at West Central or with another organization or resource.
One of the most essential components for Gina is getting to know the people she serves. The conversations she has with each person are not only about assessing their situation but also about listening and being there with them. Isolation is a major challenge for rural seniors and has only worsened during the coronavirus pandemic as senior centers shuttered and family and neighbors quarantined.
Gina’s motto puts it in perspective: “I always say, ‘Take care of our seniors, because if we are lucky, we one day will get to be seniors ourselves.’ ”
HOW IT WORKS
West Central’s Senior Care program focuses on enhancing the quality of life of seniors age 65 and older living in West Central’s nine-county region: Bates, Benton, Cass, Cedar, Henry, Hickory, Morgan, St. Clair, and Vernon. Seniors seeking assistance, or referred from other providers, are contacted by a staff member to complete an intake assessment to identify needs.
To request or refer services, contact Senior Care Director Cheryl Gutshall at 660-476-2185 or [email protected].