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Coastline: Helping seniors stay active, healthy

Whether it’s home care and nutrition or transportation and support, Coastline Elderly Services Inc. wants to make sure SouthCoasters get the care they need.

Coastline Services was founded in 1977 after the Older Americans Act was passed. Around that time, there were not many care-giving options for elders and if they did not have a caregiver or family, they were often placed in a nursing home. Giving individuals a sense of independence is one of the main goals of Coastline, according to its website.

“We provide service to individuals over 60 so they can remain home and independent,” said nutrition director Philip Beard. When seniors are able to remain self-sufficient, they tend to live longer and healthier lives.

If seniors are in need of services, a referral needs to be completed for the specific services they require to be identified and provided. From there, they can be matched with an individualized program. Emergency assistance, transportation and handiwork around the house are what some of the programs are designed around. From providing personal care attendants to programs designed to help with even the smallest chore, Coastline has programs to fit anyone’s needs.

For individuals who have disabilities or are low income, The Grinnell Mansion provides congregate housing. Located in New Bedford, this setting provides elders with socialization and assistance with their specific needs. The Carriage House and Casey Miller Apartments, both in New Bedford, also provide Coastline services for elders who wish to live independently.

Providing extensive care for a family member can be a time-consuming, emotional and financial strain. Coastline provides services to help not just the individual, but the individual’s primary caregivers as well.

“We provide support so the family does not get burned out,” said Beard.

An ongoing program is “The Savvy Caregiver,” a free, six-session training for family and friends of those caring for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Another support program is The Family Caregiver, which provides counseling, support and education for caregivers.

Coastline works to maker sure seniors maintain their health and even avoid potential health problems. Some of Coastline’s past events have included a diabetes self-management workshop and a healthy aging fair.

Proper nutrition is essential for staying healthy. Coastline has an array of nutrition programs, the most popular being Meals On Wheels. This food service delivers meals for individuals who have a hard time leaving their residence. The meals are not mass-produced, but prepared with dietary needs and quality taste as the main focus. Cooks and dietitians prepare the food and even do “Ethnic Tuesdays” in which they prepare diverse dishes. At the three congregate locations, elders can gather to socialize and receive a hot meal, too.

Every year, Coastline helps provide a Thanksgiving meal for individuals at all three of their housing sites. The meals are prepped the night before and more than 500 volunteers gather to help with preparation.

“We don’t even invite people; they just come,” said Beard, noting that they are never short volunteers for that event.

“Although we employ over 115 staff members, we rely on dozens of dedicated volunteers who provide more in-depth outreach and assistance to the individuals we help,” according to Coastline’s website.

Volunteer opportunities are available for those who wish to get involved. The Money Management Volunteer Program is an opportunity to help elders write checks, pay bills and learn how to budget. Training for the program is provided and those who volunteer are only required to give a few hours of their time per month. Those who wish to support elders who are in a nursing home can join The Nursing Home Ombudsman Program and be paired with a nursing home in their area.

For the past 32 years, Coastline has hosted the Foster Grandparent Program, sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Services.

“The program places seniors in elementary classrooms and child care centers, and other youth-based organizations to mentor and assist children throughout the community. Foster Grandparents receive a stipend for their time and commitment, while benefiting from the impact they make in each child’s life on a daily basis,” according to Coastline’s website.

Coastline’s mission statement is “to be a trusted provider of resources and services that support self-determination and community well-being.” Coastline programs are available to residents of New Bedford and the surrounding towns of Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester.

Article source: http://www.southcoasttoday.com/news/20171128/coastline-helping-seniors-stay-active-healthy

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