Living in Park County poses a myriad of unique challenges for many senior citizens.
The absence of a single hospital or assisted living center within the county is chief among them and the distance to the nearest grocery store and other businesses can also be problematic for those lacking transportation.
Most recently, however, according to new Park County Senior Coalition Executive Director Jennie Danner, isolation and lack of social interaction in the wake of COVID-19 has been perhaps the most imposing challenge of all for local seniors.
“Reducing isolation and increasing connection will be our most immediate priority,” Danner said. “We have a lot of fun activities and special outings planned for the near future, and we look forward to stepping up our outreach efforts and socially reconnecting our seniors.”
“I am extremely passionate about making a positive impact in our community and excited to use my professional experiences to benefit the Park County Senior Coalition. Park County is a beautiful, challenging, and rewarding place to live. I am honored to be able to help our seniors stay happy and healthy in their homes in this place we all love.”
PCSC is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving senior citizens of Park County, and was established in 1977 as a social organization for Fairplay seniors. Since that time its programming has grown immensely and the number of seniors they serve has climbed to about 600.
The stated mission of PCSC is to help Park County Seniors (age 60 years and older) maintain the highest quality of life by remaining in their homes as long as possible.
“We want to help our seniors live both independently and with dignity,” Danner said.
Danner lived in Alma for about four years and now resides in Fairplay. Danner has worked most recently as projects and grants manager for the South Park National Heritage Area.
Danner also outlined an impressive list of services that she, her staff and a dedicated team of volunteers plan to provide for local seniors:
1. Meal boxes - PCSC can currently offer up to 20 meals a month per person, for pick up, or it can arrange transportation. PCSC also offers nutrition education for seniors.
2. Transportation - PCSC provides mileage reimbursement for relatives, volunteers, or neighbors to drive seniors to grocery and/or medical appointments, as well as assisted transportation.
3. Homemaking services - PCSC offers a program for ongoing services such as light cleaning or housework, dusting or vacuuming.
4. Chore program - PCSC offers a voucher program for seasonal chores that contribute to a safe and healthy home. Chores might include chimney sweeping, snow removal, firewood delivery, hand-rail installation and more.
SCPC has been providing critical assistance for seniors for more than 40 years, but Danner hopes to increase the number of services offered while also increasing the number of seniors it serves.
“I am spreading awareness of the services we offer and increasing our senior outreach efforts through phone, email, website and social media,” Danner said. “I am also currently in the process of starting a neighbor calling neighbor program, and keeping up with state COVID-19 guidelines in hopes of getting seniors back to events and outings as quickly and safely as possible.”
Case management is provided to identify clients’ needs and determine what services best meet their needs. PCSC can also help with other individualized needs if a service is required that is not listed.
PCSC is in need of volunteers, especially for help with driving services like the delivery of meal boxes or transportation to medical appointments or to get groceries for seniors. A background check would be required and mileage for the volunteer would be reimbursed.
PCSC is also seeking board members who want to help further the mission of the Park County Senior Coalition.
If you are a senior, or a senior you care about comes to mind while reading this, don’t hesitate to call, email or walk in to the PCSC offices at 825 Clark Street Suite C in Fairplay.
The experienced, passionate staff at PCSC can be reached at the following numbers: Executive Director, Jennie Danner, 719-836-4150; Assistant Executive Director, Pamela Ewing, 719-836-4295 (main line); or Program Coordinator, Joyce Whittle, 719-836-4157.
Office hours are Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. (closed for lunch from noon-1 p.m.). The office is open for appointment only on Fridays.