MT. COMFORT — Many local nonprofit organizations gathered to offer information, goodies and more to the seniors of Hancock County this past Saturday.
The free event was hosted by Hancock County Older Adult Forum, a new nonprofit that came from the former Hancock County Council on Aging. Attendees were able to visit different booths from local nonprofit organizations that specialize in services for older adults. Some nonprofit organizations there included Hancock County Senior Services, CICOA (Central Indiana Council on Aging) and Meals on Wheels of Hancock County.
Lynda Kosh, executive director of Meals on Wheels, also sits on the council for the Older Adult Forum and said they wanted to make sure there was an effort to share all the resources available for the senior citizens in the county.
Kosh said that Meals on Wheels doesn’t serve just senior citizens, however that age group is a majority of their clients.
“We want to make sure that senior citizens are able to stay in their home as long as possible, so by providing a hot, nutritious meal, that’s almost like medicine to them.” Kosh said.
There were 10 different vendors that offered freebies and pamphlets/papers on resources.
The event also had two speakers that gave short presentations on legal services and safety advice for older adults. Pam Bennett with Bennett Law LLC in Greenfield spoke about an overview of wills. Sergeant Christine Rapp from the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department spoke on safety tips and avoiding scams — especially those found online or over the phone.
Trish Mendez, a local resident who also volunteers for Meals on Wheels, went to the event with her neighbor Linda Richardson so they could find more volunteer opportunities. They also listened to both speakers while they were there.
“This was very informative. I’ve worked with the public for 48 years, so a lot of it I was already aware of, but I was really impressed that they were offering this because in my job I’ve seen a lot of seniors get scammed,” Richardson said.
While the resource fair is typically aimed at older adults, Brandee Bastin, Tobacco Control Program manager with Hancock Health and the Hancock County Tobacco Free Coalition, said that these resources aren’t limited to senior citizens.
“Sometimes folks that come to these resource fairs, maybe they don’t need the information but they have family or friends that they care about that need the information,” Bastin said.
Teri Gottschalk, education navigator for Hancock Health, said they try to have events similar to the resource fair quarterly and in different locations throughout the county.
“We’re trying to make sure that people don’t have to go too far but that we can get around to the areas where people are and bring them information that is useful,” Gottschalk said.
Gottschalk said that 2018 was the last time a resource fair was hosted and was larger, however the fair this year was specifically for nonprofit organizations throughout the county that help.
“I think it helps older adults and/or the care providers or caretakers just realize what is available,” Gottschalk said. “Our community has a lot of awesome resources, and a lot of times we feel like people aren’t aware of all of the things that are available.”
Resources for Hancock County Seniors provided by Hancock County Older Adult Forum
Adult Protective Services – Investigates abuse, neglect, and exploitation (including financial) and assists in obtaining protective services for endangered adults 800-992-6978
Care Track – System available for those who might wander provided by the Sheriffs Department 317-477-1147
CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions – Provides caregiver support, home safety assessments, in-home services, care management and nutrition, including meal sites and home delivered meals 800-432-2422
FSSA/DfR – Assists with application for state programs including TANF, SNAP (“food stamps”), Medicaid and other financial aid 800-403-0864
Greenfield Senior Center – Promotes healthy lifestyles for persons age 55 and better, with educational, recreational, social events, classes, and activities 317-477-4343
Hancock County Senior Services – Offers Medicare counseling, homemaker, handyman, and respite services, telephone reassurance, legal assistance, meal vouchers, respite services, transportation, and loans durable medical equipment (as available) 317-462-3758
Hancock County Veteran Services Office – Assists veterans in accessing available benefits 317-462-8767
Hancock Health Connection Center – Promotes health, happiness and wholeness for Hancock County residents by offering support, referrals and navigation to assist people in accessing the help they need 317-468-4231
Hancock Home Medical Equipment – Home medical equipment and supplies in our Greenfield store and for home delivery 317-477-6463
ICAP – Potential assistance with heating and cooling utility costs, weatherization, and housing and much more 317-462-2557
Indiana 211 – Essential Community Services is a free and confidential service providing information and referrals to find local resources you need, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Dial 211
Love, INC – Collaborative effort between churches and service agencies; requests for assistance are matched for help 317-468-6300
Meals On Wheels – provides home-delivered meals, short-term or long term 317-477-4345
Mental Health Partners of Hancock County – Behavioral Care Assistance, Advocate Manager, personal care bags 317-462-2877
National Suicide Prevention-Lifeline – New Number: 988 the Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States.
Ride Hancock Public Transportation (formerly HART) – public transportation for any age within Hancock County for a nominal fee. Age 60+ rides are donation only to essential destinations. Medicaid accepted. (reservations required) 317-462-1103
Telephone Assistance Program (Lifeline) – assistance with phones to those who qualify 888-441-2994