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ElderCare to observe anniversary
new deh eldercare pic
ElderCare, Inc. Great Bend office staff is joined by some of the home care attendants in announcing the anniversary celebration on Oct. 17. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of articles celebrating the 20th anniversary of ElderCare Home Services in October. The rest will follow throughout the month.

ElderCare Inc. has seen many changes throughout its history, but its client focus remains unchanged. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Home Services and the 32nd year of Friendship Meals, the public is invited to an open house on Wednesday, October 17th from 2-3:30 p.m. at their 1819 11th Street office.
Changes have included in-home clients totaling 3,100 in various locations, an office move six years ago, computerized scheduling, increased technology, modernized meal site kitchens, and adapting to current state Medicaid reform. The agency’s goal has continued--to offer services to help individuals maintain an optimum quality of life with safety and dignity while remaining in their homes and communities.
Donna Staab recalled care for her mother, Evelyn Harrison, age 96. “My mother lived on my block for 15 years. During much of that time the ElderCare staff was another set of eyes, ears, and gentle hands that helped me care for her. THEY are the reason she was able to stay in her own home until she was almost 95. We are so blessed to live in a community where their services are available.”
ElderCare started in Barton County with Jan Bonine, Executive Director, and Lorna McFarren, Care Coordinator, developing the agency. Home Services began in October of 1992 following a research project and needs assessment by county participants. The results determined a need for in-home services for individuals. In 1994, ElderCare Inc. was incorporated as a non-profit agency to serve older adults. Bonine directed the agency until her retirement in 2008.
The Home Services division employs 65 home care attendants to care for 250 clients in Barton, Pawnee, Stafford, Rush, Edwards, Pratt, Kiowa and Ford counties. Services include personal care, homemaking, respite care, nursing medication set-up and wellness monitoring. Services are tailored to each client’s needs. ElderCare accepts various funding sources, and participates in the United Way of Central Kansas.
“I look forward to being with my clients, because I feel that I can help them with their care and help them feel less lonely,” said Sister Mary Lou Desena, a caregiver for 11 years. “Their appreciation helps me feel useful.”
The Nutrition Services division provides Friendship Meals at senior centers and meal sites, as well as home-delivered Meals on Wheels, in the 28 counties of southwest Kansas.
The current Board of Directors include Julie Knoblich, chairperson; Barbara Shirk, vice chairperson; Bernie Jamieson, secretary-treasurer; Larry Collins, Terry Conard, Robin Fabricius and Richard VonFeldt.
Janet Splitter is the Executive Director, Karen Sessler is the Home Services Care Manager, and Linda Black is the Food Service Supervisor. Other local office staff includes Denise Sweany, Donna Stenzel, Karen Appel, Sue Campbell, Robin Linsner and Mary Irick.
“You provide a wonderful services to families of the elderly,” stated Suzanne McAlexander, Huntingtown, Md.