Agency Fosters Independent Living

Relatives seeking assistance to provide independent living for their loved ones have a new option

Published: Saturday, August 27, 2011Source: Lugene Hudson, New Castle News

LIFE Lawrence County opened its doors in a new facility in the Parkstown area of Union Township in June.

To showcase what is offered here, an open house for the community is planned for September 20.

The building houses an adult day care, a medical clinic providing comprehensive medical care and offices, and offers home care to eligible participants, said Mary Lou Harju, marketing manager for the LIFE program. LIFE respresents Living Independence for the Elderly.

But the Main goal of LIFE Lawrence County is to offer independent living to those who instead may have no choice but to be admitted to a long-term facility.

“People must be 55 or older and must qualify medically by an assessment done through the Area Agency on Aging,” Harju explained.

In-home care assistance extends to those who may tend to fall frequently, have dementia or need help with managing medications, she said.

“There is nothing else like our program. We provide services to frail adults still living in their homes.”

The medical director for LIFE Lawrence County is Dr. George Brett.

So far, eight people have been enrolled with two more to be added as of September 1, Harju pointed out.

There are also LIFE Programs in Beaver and Butler counties and throughout Pennsylvania.

The open house will provide an opportunity for people to tour the facility and talk to staff members, she said.

“People can see how beautiful and spacious it is.”

In-home services include laundry, grocery shopping and personal care, Harju noted, adding that some participants may only require adult day care.

“The primary part, though, is physical care and the staff includes – in addition to doctors – nurses, a dietician and social worker. We can monitor their conditions and respond to situations.”

A person must be enrolled in the LIFE program to take advantage of the services, she mentioned, adding, “Our program is at no charge for those who meet the financial obligation requirements and we provide all medications for free. There is no co-pay for items such as eyeglasses, dentures, hearing aids or diabetic supplies.”

Funding and regulation is done by the state and Medicare, Harju acknowledged.

“This is a unique niche that we can service a piece of the elderly population that otherwise has no choice but to go to a nursing home. We help them get back a higher level of independence.”

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