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Seniors serving other seniors

James Rada, Jr.
Thurmont Dispatch

(2/7) The best way for seniors to get the help they need may be to give what help they can.

The Thurmont Seniors Commission is hoping to bring Partners in Care, a service exchange program, to town. Partners in Care was originally started in Anne Arundel by three women studying gerontology.

“They discovered transportation was one of the biggest problems for elderly people who wanted to remain independent in their own home,” said Emily Kilby, the coordinator for Partners in Care in Frederick.

She spoke to the senior commission about the program on Feb. 5 and explained to the members how they could get the program into Thurmont.

The program provides transportation and other needed services to seniors. Such services might include minor repairs, errands, household chores, etc.

“It’s anything a neighbor would feel comfortable helping a neighbor do,” Kilby said.

Volunteers join the program and provide whatever services they can to others and when the volunteer needs help with something he or she can receive it from another volunteer. A coordinator will then make up requests for service with volunteers who can perform them.

“What you’re doing is really the services we’re trying to put forward here in the community,” said Bill Buehrer, the commission chairman.

The program is run through grants, donations and state transportation grants. It is a free program unless someone needs to travel outside of the county or more than 50 miles. Transportation happens to be one of the senior services needed in Thurmont.

“This area really, really needs transportation service more than any other area in the county,” Kilby said.

This area has a high number of elderly, poor seniors without transportation.
Kilby said to get the program started in Thurmont would probably require four active volunteers. They would give the program the energy it needs to grow.

Commission member Carol Hudson and Rosie Bentz volunteered to serve at the Thurmont coordinators and match seniors with volunteers who can help them.
Volunteers interested in helping out or seniors needing help should call Hudson at (301) 271-2459 or Bentz at (301) 271-7729.

“It’s a terrific service and it’s something I know people in Thurmont would find beneficial,” Kilby said.

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