What a Happy New Year it is at Bellwether! 2015 marks the start of the Resident Services’ 4th year, and the Resident Services team is working hard to serve residents living in Bellwether’s HUD funded buildings. Through a federal grant, Bellwether has been able to staff three positions at Meridian Manor, Security House, and First & Vine. These three individuals strive to provide referrals and connect senior residents and individuals with disabilities to supportive services that allow them to age in place. In addition to resource referrals, the Resident Services Coordinators hold monthly activities, both fun and educational; to enrich the communities residents live in. Through community engagement and having offices open to residents in their apartment complexes, the Resident Services Coordinators are able to assess individual and community needs and provide the necessary supportive services.
Demographically speaking, most of the residents are between the ages of 70 and 80. As the residents age, their physical and mental health diminishes. The Services Coordinators address affiliating issues to this aging process by bringing services closer to home. This has included providing health screenings, dental clinics, diabetes foot care, and much more at the apartment complexes. Resident Services Coordinators also assist with the numerous, and often times complicated, entitlement programs related to aging including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other DSHS services. The help that is provided ranges from explanation of benefits, assistance with forms, and referrals to agencies that focus specifically on the entitlement program in question. As the program grows, Service Coordinators develop rapport and relationships of trust with residents, often assisting them with matters of sensitive nature involving personal issues and information while maintaining confidentiality.
It is a goal of the Resident Services program to reach out to all residents and reduce isolation. The Services Coordinators plan for community events that enrich resident-to-resident networking. These activities include bingo, potlucks, birthday celebrations, piano concerts, and social hours. At both Meridian Manor and Security House, English is not the first language for many of the residents. Reducing the isolation created by a lack of communication has been a focus of the Resident Services Coordinator program. Through partnerships with outside agencies, classes and support groups have been established at the buildings. These have included English classes, Citizenship classes, culture events, and a weekly Chinese support group. As the residents participate in these classes, they integrate with each other, and are able to communicate more with English speaking residents; further strengthening the community.
The Resident Services Coordinators have a busy year ahead of them as they continue to grow their programming and reach out to more residents living in Bellwether’s properties. Providing in-house supportive services to residents has allowed residents to age in place and continue to call Bellwether their home.