Shorewood OKs help for seniors to stay put

Program helps obtain adaptive equipment

Feb. 22, 2012

Shorewood - A program designed to assist senior residents was approved Tuesday by the Village Board.

With backing by the village's Elder Services Advisory Board, elected officials approved an initiative known as Home Sweet Home. Administered by the Shorewood Senior Resource Center, the program will give seniors the ability to stay in a home as they age.

The SRC will pilot the program initially and could make tweaks over time. As proposed, Home Sweet Home will give residents the opportunity to have a volunteer survey the home and assist in obtaining adaptive equipment, including chair lifts and other related accessories throughout a home.

The goal, according to SRC officials, is for elderly residents to remain independent as long as possible in the residence of their choice.

Home Sweet Home was proposed in the aftermath of a recent survey that revealed seniors in Shorewood want to continue living in their homes, despite any number of mobility-related issues.

Sue Kelly, a consultant who frequently provides services to the SRC, said Home Sweet Home is the first of its kind in the Milwaukee area. Previously, seniors could have a person come through and evaluate a home, but at a cost.

"This really is in response to the strong sense we received from people who want to stay in this community," Kelly said.

The Village Board was largely receptive toward the SRC proposal, although a few concerns were raised, including the scope of volunteers' services.

"This is not going to be a place of giving professional advice," Village Attorney Ray Pollen said. "(The volunteers) are merely providing resources. They will not be representing that they will be going back (after the initial visit) and following up. To represent that would be an expansion of what they're doing. It would be unreasonable."

Elizabeth Price, manager of the SRC, said Home Sweet Home will be conducted on a trial basis on a few residents. Eventually, she said word will be spread throughout the community, and fliers announcing the service will be distributed.

As time goes on, Price said some of the finite points within the program could be tweaked as the service is evaluated.

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