Volunteers will bring info to east-central Seniors on April 18

Map provided.

Senior Citizens living in one east-central Huntington neighborhood have made it known that they feel a little lost when it comes to accessing the resources of their community.

A small army of volunteers hopes to change that on Saturday, April 18.

They'll be going door to door, handing out booklets and other information designed to give those seniors a guide to resources and services available to them in Huntington County.

The contacts are an outgrowth of a survey conducted last year designed to find out what Seniors need to remain in their own homes as long as they can. One of the main issues, say Linda Bordeaux and Teresa Plasterer, is what the Seniors perceive as a lack of access to information.

Bordeaux is the director of the Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities program, one of five such pilot programs in Indiana, and Plasterer is the program director. Although Bordeaux and Plasterer came on board after the study was completed last year, they're now in charge of implementing solutions to the problems highlighted by the study.

"Seniors just still don't seem to feel that they know where to turn when they need information," Bordeaux says.
Volunteers from Huntington University, the 509 Community Church, the Boys and Girls Club, and the NNORC steering committee - which is made up of Senior residents of the targeted neighborhood - will visit 301 Senior households on April 18, between 10 a.m. and noon, handing out copies of the Huntington County Senior Guide. The guide, first published in 2007 and currently being updated, lists resources that can assist Seniors with emergencies; help with financial, health and housing problems; and provide general support.

The visitors will also explain the information they're handing out, answer questions and publicize a Senior Expo planned for May 21.

The targeted neighborhood consists of a little more than six square miles roughly bounded by State Street on the south, Broadway on the east, Bus.-24 and Division Street on the north and Oak Street on the west.

Each household contacted will also receive a window cling identifying the occupants as NNORC residents. Postal workers will be trained to keep an eye on those homes for signs of trouble, such as mail or newspapers piling up, Bordeaux says.

"It may also help encourage relationships between neighbors," she adds.

"The greatest outcome would be that a culture is woven within that neighborhood," Plasterer says.

Plasterer points out that the NNORC steering committee is made up of neighborhood residents.

"It's not a group of city administrators making decisions," she says.

The steering committee is open to new members, Bordeaux says, who must be 60 years or older and be homeowners in the NNORC area.

Another problem identified by last year's study was the need for many seniors to have minor modifications made to their homes, including grab bars and other bathroom modifications. Some grant money is available to make minor modifications to a limited number of homes, they say, and residents have been surveyed to see if they would be interested in participating. Home assessments are now being conducted, Bordeaux says.

"Our goal is to have 10 homes adequately modified for homeowners' improved safety," she says.

For additional information on becoming involved in the NNORC project, call the Huntington County Council on Aging at 359-4410.