Aging happens to all of us – and help is available
By Eunice Marchbank
As we age, things in our bodies begin to change. Some of the changes occur in the forms of vision changes, hearing loss, balance problems, mental fitness, or weakness in bones and muscles. These changes are so gradual that most of us don’t know they’re happening until there’s a problem of some kind.
There are ways to mitigate these issues, regardless of your age or situation at this time. By knowing your body, and if you are given the correct information, you have the power to change, maintain, and/or strengthen it. But you will probably need some help and support along the way.
Here in the Methow Valley we do a pretty good job of helping and supporting our seniors. There is the Senior Center in Twisp, where meals are served three times a week to anybody over the age of 60, for a small donation. Transportation is provided to the center for these meals. The meals are also delivered to the homes of people who are unable to make the trip to the center. This is only a fraction of what the Senior Center provides.
Other things in the valley include the SAIL class (Stay Active and Independent for Life). This class meets at the Grange in Twisp. We also care for our seniors in two adult family homes in Winthrop called Jamie’s Place. This is for people who can no longer care for themselves at home, and need 24-hour assistance.
And of course, there are the two medical clinics: the Country Clinic in Winthrop and Methow Valley Family Practice in Twisp, along with Winthrop Physical Therapy & Fitness and Methow Valley Physical Therapy in Twisp. They make it much easier to obtain care because they are right here in the valley. There are many other programs and support services available as well.
A lesser-known program is the Guardian Angel Program, which is sponsored by The Cove in Twisp. Our mission statement is “to improve the care and support of the elderly and persons with chronic illnesses or disabilities in our community through personal contact by a special friend, a Guardian Angel.” We match volunteers with elderly or otherwise vulnerable people in our community. The volunteer visits and calls them on a regular basis. They may also give rides to medical appointments and do simple chores, depending on the needs of the person. Each year we have two training sessions for the volunteers. This year the area of interest to the volunteers and to most people as we get older, is how to stay healthy and keep going.
The fall meeting of the Guardian Angel volunteers will be held Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. at Community Covenant church, 710 Highway 20, in Twisp. This year the topic is “Preservation of Function in Aging.” There will be two speakers: Dr. Chris Hogness from the Country Clinic, who will cover how certain abilities may decline and how to take care of the factors we can control, and also how to control or prevent chronic diseases; and physical therapist Pete Dickinson, who will be presenting information on simple core and extremity exercises. Because this topic is of interest to so many people, this presentation will be open to the public, and is free of charge.
Donations are welcome. Refreshments will be served. For more information about this presentation, or the Guardian Angel Program, call The Cove at 997-0227, visit www.the covecares.com, call me at 996-2569 or email Emarchbank@methownet.com.
Eunice Marchbank is administrator for the Guardian Angel Program.