Many of 74-year-old "Barbara's" friends have moved to nursing homes the last few years as their spouses have passed away and they were unable to live alone due to age-related health concerns. While Barbara doesn't need that level of medical care, her family doesn't think she should be home alone, either.
"Albright LIFE (Living Independently For Elders) is a unique program that provides comprehensive health care and supportive services that enable participants to remain at home and live as independently as possible for as long as desirable and feasible," explained Perry Landon, executive director of Albright LIFE.
Albright LIFE is the local version of the nationally recognized Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).
Laura Flynn, left, and Jennifer Dodson, right, assist program participant Louise Brown get into the van.
"The LIFE Center is the hub of the program and the site of the medical clinic, adult day care program, and service coordination. The LIFE Center is a place where our participants can take part in a wide variety of social, recreational, and medical services in a safe, stimulating, and nurturing environment," Landon said.
Barbara attends most days of the week and enjoys playing pinochle with the other program participants. "Sometimes we play games together or have a guest speaker on something educational like nutrition," Barbara said. "My favorite thing is when someone comes in to play music or sing with us. We have a great time together that I wouldn't get at home by myself."
"Our participants range in age from 66 to 97," Landon said. "We currently have 34 participants, and almost all are transported on a regular basis in our handicapped accessible buses and van by our drivers who are all specially trained in assisting frail individuals on and off the vehicle.
"Albright LIFE provides a wide range of services to help our participants stay as healthy and active as possible. Services provided include physician, nursing and personal care services, adult day health center services, and many other coordinated services including transportation, 24-hour on-call, and home care assistance. These services are the key to allowing Albright LIFE participants to remain safely in their homes."
Participants like Barbara aren't the only ones who are grateful for the services Albright provides. Family members appreciate that their loved ones are in a safe environment with social interaction.
"Albright LIFE was an answer to my prayers. After taking care of my mom by myself for a few months, I realized that I was unable to provide the care she needed. After she started the LIFE program, it has been possible for her to become more independent," a program participant's son said. "Her outlook on life and her health have improved greatly since starting the program. Without their help I would not have been able to continue to take proper care of her and return to work."
United Way allocated $10,000 to Albright LIFE-Albright Care for transportation for seniors to the facility as an Impact Initiative grant. Participants come from areas such as Linden, Williamsport, Newberry, Loyalsock, Montoursville and South Williamsport.
"The United Way Impact Initiative Program provides time-limited grants for innovative programs and services that meet priority and unique human-service needs in Lycoming County," explained Shea Madden, volunteer chair of the United Way community building committee. "We are pleased to provide funding to Albright LIFE that supports our local seniors."
"The employees at Albright LIFE believe in United Way and enthusiastically support it's many causes by participating in its annual fund drive," Landon said. "The generous impact initiative grant that Albright LIFE received from United Way will help us provide more than 1,800 trips per month that are essential to the well being of our participants."
For more information on Albright LIFE call 322-5433 or 1-800-907-LIFE or visit www.albrightlife.org. For more information on Lycoming County United Way or to support the campaign that funds programs like these, visit www.lcuw.org or call 323-9448.