Phone number connects seniors to information

Posted: Wednesday, January 09, 2002

In 1989, the Juneau Commission on Aging determined that one of the top needs of Juneau's senior citizens is one place to go, one number to call for information on what's available. Through an extensive survey of older persons throughout the Borough, the Commission found that many seniors are not aware of the services and benefits available to them or how to access them. To find out where to go for help, a person would call one number, be told to call another number, who would give him another number, then that number would give him another number ... (and so on.) It could be very confusing and frustrating. Wouldn't it be nice just to remember one phone number to find out anything related to seniors?

Fortunately, this dream has become a reality. Simply call 463-6177 to find out what you want to know. "Who can help me figure out my medical bills?" "When's the next AARP meeting?" "Where can I play cards with other fun people like myself?" "How do I use the Care-A-Van?" "Can I get Meals on Wheels?" "Is there someone trustworthy who can come into my home to help me bathe and dress my wife who had a stroke?" "Where are exercise classes for seniors offered?" "Is there a safe place my mom can stay during the day while I'm at work?" "Can someone stay with my dad while I go shopping?" "What senior housing options are available for my dad in Michigan?" These are just a few of the questions callers may ask

Some callers may feel timid while others are impatient. The Senior Information Office staff can give you the phone number to call or can make the call on your behalf.

"We're here to offer choices," said Fred Howard, manager of the new program.

If they don't know the answer right off, the friendly staff will research your question for you, then call you back with the answer.

The Senior Information Office is located in the front of the Juneau Senior Center at 895 West 12th Street, on the first floor of the Mountain View Apartment building. The service is for family members of persons over 60 and all senior citizens. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The office serves all persons throughout Southeast Alaska, from as far north as Yakutat to as far south as Metlakatla. For persons comfortable with the computer, questions may be sent via e-mail to: Alaskans outside of Juneau may call 1-866-746-6177 toll-free.

The Senior Information Office is made possible by a grant from the Alaska Commission on Aging, as part of the Family Caregiver Support Act. Family Caregivers include spouses of senior citizens, adult children, grandchildren, even neighbors and friends of older persons who have difficulties with two or more activities of daily living. The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation generously provides the office space.

The Senior Information Office is operated by Fred Howard and trained volunteers, many of whom are participants in the National Senior Service Corps. Persons interested in volunteering time at the Senior Information Office should contact Fred at 463-6177. As a program of Southeast Senior Services, the Senior Information Office is dedicated to helping senior citizens maintain their health, independence and quality of life.

Marianne Mills oversees senior citizen nutrition and transportation programs in Juneau, Skagway, Sitka and Yakutat as a staff member of Southeast Senior Services, a program of Catholic Community Service. CCS assists all persons regardless of their faith.

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