The West Philadelphia Senior Community Center is bustling with activity as renovations are completed and new staff prepares to launch its In-Home Support Program (IHSP) for the surrounding community residents.
IHSP supervisor, Donald Smothers, the Center’s Director, Pat Stanley, and others are keenly aware of West Philadelphia’s great need for this program. Serving individuals 60 years and older, the IHSP is intended to prevent or postpone further decline in older adults, promote independence and help them regain control of their lives and surroundings.
“Our staff will assess the needs of our clients, first through phone interviews, followed by home visits in order to access and identify the services or resources that best meet each person’s needs,” says Donald. “Some will need only a few visits and others much more – every case is different.”
Since 2006, Liberty’s Lutheran Children and Family Service has operated the West Philadelphia Senior Community Center in collaboration with the Philadelphia Corporation of Aging and has demonstrated a long standing commitment to the West Philadelphia community. Last year alone, in addition to serving more than 1,000 individuals, the Center estimates another 500 seniors in the community have requested and received referral services through the center. Many of the requests are for basic needs – heat and food.
The nine IHSP caseworkers have come into this work seeking to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable seniors. Caseworker Tirzah Cannad grew up in the community and her parents still live there. “I’ve seen and I know that everyday there is someone in need,” she says.
And the numbers are staggering. Each of the caseworkers has a case load of 60-80 residents. According to Clarese Shaw, also an IHSP supervisor, as soon as one case is assessed and opened there is another person referred who could benefit from the program.
“I’m sure we will have many stories to tell in the coming months, and we look forward to hearing how our work has made a positive difference in the community,” Donald says.
This is one of many stories featured in the Spring 2014 edition of Liberty Lutheran’s newsletter: At Liberty. Click here to check out the dynamic digital version of At Liberty with heartwarming stories from our entire Family of Services.