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We all need help navigating aging challenges

It’s hard to believe that we have already gotten through May. Families are celebrating graduations, planning vacations and slowly moving to a world after COVID-19. While there are many things to look forward to, we are ever cautious about moving too quickly. The pandemic situation is still very fluid and guidelines will likely change before I even finish typing this sentence…

We are ecstatic to announce that we are able to increase capacity for our programs at both the O’Neill Center and Belpre Senior Center. While Governor DeWine’s removal of all health orders today is exciting news for many, the exception to that announcement made on May 12 might include our Centers. At the time of this writing, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or other healthcare congregate settings serving older adults, possibly also the O’Neill and Belpre senior centers, are not having all health orders lifted just yet. Baby steps. We’re getting there.

Meanwhile, we are still adding exciting programs, we are still accepting Adult Day Service clients and giving rides to medical appointments. Our book club is meeting, knitters and crocheters are getting together in person and our computer lab is open for all who want to surf the web. Trivia has returned twice a week, tai chi is in full swing, seniors are line dancing and enjoying lunch in Belpre. Fun is happening!

And while we do have a lot of fun, there are some things about growing older that are not exactly fun but we will all experience at some point. Our social services staff is here to help during these times. Care Consultation is a telephone or email service that many seniors, families and caregivers could benefit from. I know that personally when my family was dealing with a loved one’s declining health, I wish I had known about all the resources available. My dad who suffered a stroke had a lot of doctor appointments to schedule, questions to ask, and medications to remember to take. Being stubborn, he lived on his own for as long as he possibly could. During that time, we as a family would have loved to have Bethany Porter on the other end of the phone, ready and willing to help us navigate the sometimes overwhelming challenges.

The O’Neill Center is a partner agency with Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging and we are proud to provide the Care Consultation program. If you know a senior, family members of a senior, caregivers or medical providers to a senior who could benefit from working with a friendly voice as they cope with memory loss or other challenges of aging, please reach out to outreach@oneillcenter.com. No one needs to go through these difficult times alone. Our social services staff can help you advocate for yourself by teaching you how to plan meals, what questions to ask your doctor, how to make shopping lists, when to ask for help, how to talk with your spouse or children, and much, much more. Please contact us today if you know someone who could benefit from these services.

Being able to share information about this vital connection is just one of the many reasons I love my job. I have to admit, I also love seeing the seniors. It’s amazing to be part of this family that keeps growing, adapting, and working hard to serve the area’s older population. We’re still masking up, we’re still washing hands, distancing, staying safe for the seniors. But we’re getting together and that is amazing. We hope you’ll come join us. If you belong to a civic group or organization and would like to schedule a presentation with us to come and talk about All Things O’Neill, please reach out to me. I would love to see you!

Erin O’Neill is Development Coordinator for The O’Neill Center, located at 333 Fourth St. in Marietta. She can be reached at eoneill@oneillcenter.com or 740-373-3914.

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