By Todd Travis
This is not your grandmother’s bingo hall.
If you’re not familiar with Hendricks County Senior Services (HCSS), it might be time to look into what they have to offer. The variety of services that are provided may surprise you. Marina Keers, Executive Director at the senior center said it well:
“Our community is really fortunate to have the kind of senior services programming that we have. We’re pretty unique across the state, and certainly for central Indiana, we have the most comprehensive senior service programming that’s available.”
The goal that HCSS looks to achieve is wholistic wellness. That means they are looking to address the seven dimensions of wellness that have been identified by the International Council on Active Aging, which are: physical, social, spiritual, vocational, emotional, environmental, and intellectual. In order to address such a wide gamut of factors, HCSS has organized an array of programs that help our community on multiple levels.
Helee Adkins, Resource Development Coordinator, emphasized that the senior center goes beyond just helping seniors.
“We serve seniors 60+ but we also assist caregivers,” Adkins pointed out.
How is HCSS different?
Let’s get into the variety of offerings that you will find with the senior center and how they are going above and beyond to provide top-rate assistance to Hendricks County residents. Keers goes on to explain why HCSS is so special.
“The fact that we do transportation, provide community support, have an amazing senior center full of activities, and have in-home services is just unheard of. Not that we have everything, but we just feel fortunate for what we do have.”
Just recently, the senior center updated its mission, which helps to more clearly define what they do. Many seniors have had experiences elsewhere, or just have the impression that HCSS is just a place where you can go and play bingo. Meanwhile, the organization is filled with tools that can assist community members in so many ways, and they don’t want people to miss out on the assistance that is waiting for them.
Basic needs lead to more involvement
Many times, fulfilling a basic need is what brings someone to the senior center. Someone might need transportation to the doctor’s office due to a chronic health condition. That’s a very practical need, but it’s also an inroad to fulfill other ancillary needs. For example, that person getting transportation might be asked whether or not they have social support from friends or family members. Next thing you know, people are getting involved and having needs met that they didn’t necessarily come out and ask for directly.
“The senior center becomes a front door to a whole range of support and programming. We use all of our services that way. Someone might call and say they need help getting their house cleaned. We ask why and find that they fell and are going to PT, and they lost their husband a year ago. So we really get the whole picture and we can encourage people to engage deeper if they want to. And for a lot of people they do. They just need the invitation,” Keers explained.
Good to know. …
Here are some things that will help understand what is going on at HCSS and what is not. First of all, this is not a residential facility. Members and participants live in their own home, but are able to visit the senior center for a variety of events such as line dancing, group exercise classes, chair yoga, or the daily lunch that is available from M-F.
Not everything is programmed. Right now there is a group of about twenty people who just come together without any plan, who get together just to hang out or play cards. Some of them play Euchre together on a regular basis, and others just like to play board games together.
There is support for seniors in crisis. Right now there is a staff member who is dedicated to addressing the needs of seniors who might be facing homelessness or other critical needs that require immediate assistance. For food insecurity, there is a food pantry that is available for those who are struggling with the high cost of groceries. Last year, they were able to give away over 50,000 lbs. of food.
For more information, visit hcseniors.org.