Senior Citizens

Senior center to open as ‘warming center’ Saturday

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After driving slick roads to deliver hot lunches to local seniors, Denise Niese found herself Thursday evening at Gordon Foods stocking up for some unscheduled guests this weekend. For the first time in 17 years, Niese, director of the Wood County Committee on Aging, is preparing to open the Wood County Senior Center as a warming station for local senior citizens on the weekend. “It’s the first time that I’ve been here that it’s been this cold for this long,” Niese said after she wrapped up her grocery shopping. The senior center, at 305 N. Main St., Bowling Green, has been opened in the past as a cooling center in the summers when the heat index reaches 100 or above. But when Niese returned from delivering meals on Thursday, she was approached by several people at the senior center about opening the facility up on Saturday as a warming station. The center is normally closed on the weekends. Niese agreed and went a step further. “I asked them what they wanted for lunch,” she said. So after work, she was at the grocery getting ingredients for stuffed pepper soup, “real potato soup,” grilled cheese sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies. “I’ll be peeling potatoes tomorrow,” Niese said. She has no idea how many seniors to expect. “I am planning for 50.” Normal lunch time at the senior center on weekdays draws about 85 people in search of a hot meal, conversation and maybe a game of cards. The weather this week cut that number to about 60 each day. The senior center also delivers approximately 550 meals a day to seniors’ homes throughout…

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Reports of elder abuse on the rise in Wood County

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Wood County Probate Court is seeing more cases of elderly abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Judge David Woessner who presides over the court, said Wednesday, that he hopes it is because of greater awareness leading to more reports. Raising that awareness was the purpose the program presented by Wood County Job and Family Services after the annual Flag Day Pause for the Pledge observance. Tying the two programs together is fitting Woessner said: “So today when we recognize the flag and all it stands for, we should also recognize our need and our responsibility to help the elderly avoid abuse, neglect, and exploitation.” Mark Briseno, the adult protective services supervisor at Job and Family Services, said that in all of 2016 his office handled 260 cases. So far this year, there have been 149 reports, putting the office on track to handle 300 in 2017. He said that the increase probably reflects both heightened awareness leading to people reporting more readily as well as more cases. “It’s hard to really tell,” he said. “It’s a combination of both. Hopefully the efforts we’re taking to get the word out is contributing to more reporting. On the other hand, the elderly population is growing.” And he knows there are many more cases. Nationally only 1 in 14 cases is reported. “We have abuse by family members, neglect by family members or someone who may be in charge of someone’s care or an elderly person who is neglecting themselves,” he said. This may be because of memory loss or physical conditions that prevent them from taking care of themselves. Wood County, he said, is better situated to handle…