OPC keeps seniors savvy with free monthly program

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published December 22, 2017

 Teresa Bailey, development officer at the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University, gives a talk on a program called Success After Financial Exploitation during a Savvy Seniors event at the Older Persons’  Commission Dec. 19.

Teresa Bailey, development officer at the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University, gives a talk on a program called Success After Financial Exploitation during a Savvy Seniors event at the Older Persons’ Commission Dec. 19.

Photo by Deb Jacques

ROCHESTER — Growing older or caring for a loved one at the end of their life can be confusing and overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be.

Each month, the Older Persons’ Commission hosts a free Savvy Seniors program to help people learn about aging and everything that comes along with it.

“The program is set up to have various monthly topics that are of interest to the seniors and their caregivers,” OPC Executive Director Renee Cortright said. “The OPC is a nice, neutral location for seniors, family members and caregivers to attain that information.”

Laure Unkart, senior resource director for the OPC, started the Savvy Seniors program in 2011 after seeing a need.

“I felt that the seniors needed an opportunity to get more information before there was a crisis,” she said. “A lot of times, a crisis happens, and then they are looking for information, but I thought if we at least offered it, it would be available for them to attend and learn about different topics.”

The program, which was originally called Caregivers Express, was revamped over the years and was given a new name: Savvy Seniors.

“We changed the name because we realized that many people don’t even identify themselves as a caregiver,” Unkart said. “And it’s not just for caregivers. It’s information for anybody who has questions about elder law care, choosing a senior living community, financial exploitation and those kinds of things.”

Over the years, the Savvy Seniors program has filled people in on a number of topics — everything from reverse mortgages and Medicare to protecting assets and understanding hoarding behavior.

And 2018 will be no exception.

The free series will kick off the new year with “Elder Law: Going Grey ... It’s Not All Black and White,” from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Jan. 23 at the OPC. Attorney Don Rosenberg will educate attendees on aid and attendance, durable power of an attorney, how to protect their home, estate planning vs. elder law, long-term care planning, Medicaid and Medicare, veterans benefits, and more.

Additional topics in the new year will include the myths of aging, reverse mortgages, dealing with Alzheimer’s and more.

“It’s good to have the information in your hand in case there is a time you do need to consult someone,” Unkart said. “There are so many resources out there that people are not aware of, and that is what we want to bring to the seniors in the community: more resources that they can use in their time of need.”

The OPC is located at 650 Letica Drive in Rochester. For more information or to reserve a seat for an upcoming Savvy Seniors program, call the OPC at (248) 656-1403, ext. 0.