Embracing the Empowering Benefits of Living Independence for the Elderly (LIFE)

Embracing the aging process gracefully does not have to entail depending on others for daily activities or transitioning to a long-term care community. Instead, Living Independence for the Elderly (LIFE) supports older adults with the services they need to live safely and independently at home.

LIFE supports seniors, not only in their homes, but in one of our four centers located in Armstrong, Beaver, Butler and Lawrence counties.  The staff work closely with participants to maintain their daily routines, lifestyle choices, and personal preferences while helping them feel less restricted or dependent on others.

“By preserving their independence, seniors can continue to have a sense of purpose and control over their lives, which greatly enhances their self-esteem and overall satisfaction,” noted LIFE Executive Director, Leslie Kisow.

While at the centers, participants have the opportunity to take advantage of a range of services, such as engaging in exercise, exploring personal interests, scheduling physical therapy sessions, and attending regular doctor visits.

In 2022, Lutheran SeniorLife provided 23,558 therapy visits to the LIFE participants in their homes and at the centers, according to Amy Stewart, Director of Corporate Rehabilitation.

James has been a LIFE participant for over a year and enjoys his time making new friends and exercising.  “I like the congeniality of the people who work here,” said James. “It helps a man my age to keep active and more.”

Like James, Gretchen also finds comfort at the center. “It gives me time to think about other things logically rather than worrying about where I am going to go,” noted Gretchen. “It’s peace of mind.”

The staff at the LIFE centers also work closely with participants to help them expand their social connections, while fostering a sense of community and belonging.

“The staff is very nice. They all know you by name,” elaborated James. “When you walk in the door… They call you by name… That means a lot to you. It does to me.”

“The comradery. The feeling of being part of something—or doing something can help you and keep you active in your later years,” explained Warren. “I think that’s quite important…”

LIFE can provide a more economical option in certain cases, in contrast to alternatives such as assisted living or nursing homes. Given the right support and services, seniors have the option to either remain in their own homes or choose a more manageable living situation by downsizing. This can alleviate financial burdens associated with higher levels of care, allowing them to allocate resources for other aspects of their lives as needed.

“The idea that I can come here and get dental work, eyeglasses, hearing aids, my medications, meals, actually, too. And it’s so nice,” said Gretchen. “…they pick me up, take me to the doctors, bring me back home. I don’t have all that worry anymore.”

According to Audra Barozzini, Regional Director of Operations, LIFE provided 95,150 trips to participants across the four counties last year. These trips included doctors’ appointments as well as trips to and from the centers.

With appropriate support systems and resources, LIFE enables older adults to lead fulfilling lives, filled with purpose, and dignity. “This is the best thing that’s happened to me,” said Gretchen. “It’s just comforting to come here… you feel welcomed.”

The LIFE center has also helped improve Anna’s quality of life. “It’s like a family. The staff care about you. They listen to you,” explained Anna. “You can talk to them about anything.  It is just such a feeling of closeness. It makes me so happy to be here.”