Senior Provider Network best way to utilize resources

The work being done by the Senior Provider Network is getting some much-deserved recognition by the state of Michigan for its innovative use of collaboration among many senior services agencies to help stop some of our most vulnerable citizens from slipping through the cracks.

Founded six years ago by Ruth Almen, Upper Peninsula regional director of the greater Michigan chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, and Lori Stephens-Brown, director of AMCAB community nutrition services, the group has earned the attention of Kari Sederburg, director of the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging.

Sederburg and her new deputy director, Leslie Shanlian, will visit Marquette Wednesday to meet with the Senior Provider Network.

This group of people works to maximize state and federal funding for aging services by working with each other to improve communication.

The unique challenges posed by Alzheimer’s and dementia make education and training within communities a vital goal of the Senior Provider Network, because it can be hard to know how to handle a situation or who to contact when it’s not clear if it’s dangerous or not.

“You could have an 80-year-old that is sharper than we are and able to take care of themselves,” Stephens-Brown said in a page 1C Thursday article penned by Mining Journal Staff Writer Mary Wardell. “And you could have an 80-year-old that is more childlike in their ability to care for themselves, so who decides that? Where does that information stay? All those questions make it kind of tangly.”

We applaud the Senior Provider Network for the hard work it does in keeping our area seniors safe and healthy, and we’re not surprised at its look toward collaboration as a solution.

We tend to help each other out, here in the Upper Peninsula. It seems only natural. We’re glad our downstate government officials are taking note.