NORTH CHARLESTON — Senior citizens looking for helpful answers often find themselves lost in a labyrinth of services and programs, more confused than before.
That’s where Senior Liaison Services comes in.
The program is run by Catholic Charities and serves as a guide to take senior citizens directly to the resource they need the most.
Barbara Dempsey, senior care liaison officer at the new North Charleston building, said they were seeing more and more clients with a lot of questions and no idea where to turn.
“We can link them with other agencies that go beyond the scope of our services,” Dempsey said.
Some of those groups include the Trident Area Agency on Aging, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the Lowcountry Food Bank.
These same groups helped Senior Liaison Services set up their new Early Memory Loss support group and the senior-specific food pantry.
The Early Memory Loss group meets the first Wednesday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon at St. John Church’s rectory.
Dempsey said they had their first meeting June 4.
“We talked about their feelings of fear,” she said. For many seniors, it helps to know they are not alone. The group exchanged names and phone numbers so they will have someone to call who understands.
Senior citizens experience memory loss in a different way than younger people, Dempsey explained. Everyone forgets things, but most age groups can laugh at their memory lapses because they are temporary. For seniors, a lost memory is harder to find, and is sometimes gone for good.
Dempsey said they encourage their elderly clients to place sticky notes around the house as reminders.
“And sometimes we just talk about the good old days,” she said, laughing.
The Trident Area Agency on Aging also brings their mobile unit to each meeting to provide information and guidance to those over 60.
Another issue for seniors revolves around the constant question of what to eat.
St. John Church has a food pantry for the community, but Senior Liaison Services found that the elderly have specific needs that weren’t being met, Dempsey said.
They opened a pantry in their building on St. John’s Avenue that gives meals in individual servings that are low in sodium and easy to prepare.
“The whole idea is to help seniors remain in their homes as long as possible,” Dempsey said.
She explained that the main focus is to advocate for the elderly, to find what they need and how to get it to them.
If the time comes for an elderly person to move elsewhere, Dempsey said, they can refer families to assisted-living homes or long-term care facilities.
For more information on Senior Liaison Services
call (843) 308-9361 or visit www.catholic-doc.org.