OPC, Neighborhood House team up to help low-income seniors

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published March 13, 2019

ROCHESTER/ROCHESTER HILLS/OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — A new partnership between two local nonprofits is benefiting low-income seniors in need.

Thanks to a grant from an anonymous donor, low-income seniors serviced by the Rochester Area Neighborhood House are now able to exercise, eat a healthy lunch, socialize and get involved with the community at the Older Persons’ Commission.

“The OPC and Neighborhood House have the shared mission of providing support services to help the seniors continue to live independently in their homes, so this seemed like a natural fit to partner together to help those in need,” Renee Cortright, the executive director of the Older Persons’ Commission, said in an email. “With this generous grant, low-income seniors will benefit from the OPC’s nutritious noontime lunch, exercise programs and the opportunity for socialization, which plays an important role in the overall well-being for seniors.”

While those who are 50 and older and live in Rochester, Rochester Hills or Oakland Township qualify to be a member of the OPC for free, they are still required to pay a $6 registration fee for a membership card. Cortright said the $3,000 grant covers the registration fee for each low-income senior, as well as a suggested donation to cover one lunch meal per day, a $30 pass for use of the OPC’s fitness facilities, and access to OPC transportation, art, enrichment, and health and wellness opportunities.

Kathy Losinski, the executive director of the Neighborhood House, said one of the organization’s social workers noticed feelings of isolation in some of the seniors serviced by the Neighborhood House.

“A lot of times, folks over 55 live alone, and they were feeling intimidated, like they weren’t able to afford going to the OPC,” Losinski explained. “One of our donors has given us a grant to pay the fees for qualifying individuals in the community to use the OPC or the Auburn Hills Senior Center, so they can go with a little less anxiety. We ease them into how to go in and get the membership, and they have a pass card to use the cardio room, the weight room and swim in the gym. Other classes might be available to individuals as well, too.”

Each Neighborhood House client must qualify in order to use the grant funds, said Losinski, who noted that they must be over 50; be a resident of Rochester, Rochester Hills or Oakland Township; and provide a current ID and income documentation.

“It was a very generous grant. … I foresee it working through all of 2019,” Losinski said.

The Older Persons’ Commission provides a variety of services for seniors and their families, including Meals on Wheels, adult day services and transportation. Cortright said there are resource advocates who assess each individual’s needs and make referrals to appropriate resources in the community.

Medical equipment loans of walkers, wheelchairs and bath benches are available for short-term use, and Medicare-Medicaid Assistance Program counselors are available to advise people at the OPC. Cortright said four support groups meet regularly at the OPC: ones for grief, caregiver support, Parkinson’s support and the visually impaired.  

For more information on the OPC’s services, call (248) 608-0249 or email tkury@opcseniorcenter.org.

For more information about the Neighborhood House and its OPC connection, contact Katie Lamb at funddevelop@ranh.org or at (248) 651-5836.