Senior Outreach

seniorsSenior Receiving Food

Good Works Program for Seniors Aged 60 and Older

NICA’s Good Works program is designed to help the elderly preserve their independence and stay in their home. In 2014, NICA provided food for 1,133 unduplicated, low-income seniors aged 60 and older. Depending on the availability of funds, some of the seniors received support services such as: assessment and case management; home visits; financial assistance for medical equipment, prescriptions, medical supplies, fans, space heaters, and utility bills; monthly supplemental groceries (food for one to two weeks – fresh fruit and vegetables, canned goods, dairy products, meat, and bread items); coordination of volunteers to make home repairs, help with maintenance of home, and/or yard work; monthly reassurance phone calls; monthly delivery of groceries to the elderly who are without transportation; incontinence products (Depends, etc.) and nutritional supplements (Ensure); application assistance for food stamps, utility assistance, free or reduced prescriptions, etc.; clothing household items, and furniture from NICA’s thrift store without charge; gas cards and bus passes; hygiene items; advocacy; and referrals to other organizations.

The Good Works program targets seniors aged 60 and over on small, fixed incomes. Support services allow this low-income population to maintain their dignity and remain self-reliant. The average income for seniors is $696 for an individual and $1,107 for a couple. Seniors are eligible for the program if they are at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Of special concern are elderly or frail seniors with long-term health needs.

During reassessments, staff and volunteers list the needs of each client. Actions to be taken are recorded on a goal sheet. During these interviews, the needs most often expressed are:
• financial assistance (medical equipment and utility bills)
• access to low-cost or free prescriptions
• assistance with home maintenance and repairs, including electrical and plumbing work
• transportation assistance (gas vouchers, MITS tickets, bus passes)
• incontinence products (Depends) and nutritional supplies (Ensure, Boost, etc.)
• space heaters, fans, or small air conditioners
• help with chores and yard work

NICA also receives referrals from other community agencies, such as Tarrant County Department of Human Services, City of Fort Worth Community Action Partners (CAP), Catholic Charities, John Peter Smith Hospital and clinics, TXU Electric, City of Fort Worth Code Compliance, and area churches. The elderly and disabled individuals who are referred to NICA by these agencies have very similar needs to those named above.

As funds allow, the Good Works program is designed to serve elderly clients with one or more of the following services:
• provide supplemental groceries to seniors from one to twelve times during the year (participants receive one to two weeks’ worth of supplemental food including: fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods, dairy products, meat, and bread items)
• provide financial assistance for clients in the form of payment for medical equipment or supplies, prescriptions, a small air conditioner, a fan or space heater, or a utility bill
• provide coordination of volunteers to make home repairs
• provide coordination of volunteers to help seniors with home maintenance, yard work, and /or lawn care
• provide reassurance phone calls to seniors on the Good Works program each month
• provide transportation assistance: gas cards, bus passes, MITS tickets
• provide coordination of volunteers for delivery of groceries for seniors who do not have transportation
• provide incontinence products (Depends) and nutritional supplies (Ensure, etc.)
• provide coordination of volunteers to assist elderly clients with applications or paperwork for benefits – for example SNAP (food stamps), utility assistance, or free or reduced-priced prescriptions
• provide clothing, household items, and/or furniture from NICA’s thrift store without charge

During their reassessment, many of the seniors report that they do not have family members to help them with maintenance or home repairs. NICA organizes volunteers to help the elderly with home repairs. A notebook with pictures and descriptions of home repair projects that are needed by the seniors is kept by NICA staff. Two area churches participate in one or more Faith in Action Days during the year. Other services are provided during the summer when churches schedule their mission trips.

These services and others provided by the Good Works program allow clients to stay in their homes and remain independent for longer periods. This oftentimes helps them avoid a potentially costly and traumatic move to an assisted living facility or nursing home.