A new program to empower and enable senior citizens to find answers to their questions and access resources will open in New Martinsville this weekend.
The Disciples Center for Human Wholeness, 515 Maple Avenue (next door to First Christian Church) will open the Senior Access Point with an open house Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The center will help seniors access information and a wide range of resources available to them at the national, state, county, and local levels through both private sector and government based programs and opportunities.
Kyleen Jiannine, administrator/advocate, stands before the new sign marking the site of Senior Access Point at the Disciples Center of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at 515 Maple Avenue in New Martinsville.
"Sometimes finding answers to questions and knowing where to turn for information and available services in this age of the information super highway is difficult or confusing for us as we grow older," says Rev. Dr. Vic Hunter, himself a senior citizen and pastor of First Christian Church whose congregation and denomination are joining hands to develop a wide-ranging project of support and involvement with, for, and by seniors in our aging population.
"West Virginia is the second 'oldest state' in the nation in terms of per capita age. Nearly 17 percent of its population is over 65 and nearly one in three seniors receive their total income form Social Security."
It is one of the reasons the National Benevolent Association of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has asked the West Virginia Region of the Christian Church and its congregations to join hands, hearts, and resources to develop the Gift Of Years project, of which the Senior Access Center is a part.
"People with the gift of years have so much to offer to our communities. They also have some common needs. Our goal is to bring together needs and resources in a project of mutual benefit for all concerned," says Rev. Thad Allen, executive regional minister of the West Virginia Region of the Disciples. This pilot project's goal will be to establish access points throughout the state with a data base of contacts between seniors and services available.
Kyleen Jiannine, administrator/advocate of Senior Access Point at the Disciples Center says, "Economic security, health care security, a sense of wellbeing, belonging and usefulness, and social services availability remain major concerns for West Virginia seniors. Access Point is a common ground meeting place for mutual support, empowerment, conversation, sharing experiences and opportunities, asking questions, finding answers, and making connections for opportunities and services available."
There will be "one-on-one" attention paid to questions and concerns each senior presents. Providing understanding, insights, encouragement, and making connections with available resources will be a top priority. There will be classes, discussion groups, and support groups available in an environment of respect. These groups will cover wide ranging areas of interest from driving skills as a senior, to health care, to social services, to legal questions, to economic concerns, and more. Looking for practical and workable solutions and connections will be at the heart of the experience at Senior Access Point.
The public is invited to attend the open house of Senior Access Point on Sunday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Disciples Center, 515 Maple Avenue, New Martinsville. Representatives of the National Benevolent Association, the Regional Ministers of the Christian Church in West Virginia, and local leaders will be present for informal conversations. A formal opening and dedication of the project will be held at 2 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
"We especially look forward to welcoming our senior citizens of the community to meet them, hear some of their concerns, and introduce them to a place of hospitality designed especially for them," says Rev. Hunter.