After living 92 years in the Midwest, Zack McPherson says a little snow doesn't slow him down. “I feel independent. I feel like as long as I can care for myself I'll live alone,” he says.
This week many Southwest Michigan seniors were home bound, even snowed in. The St. Joseph Lincoln Senior Center closed Monday and Tuesday and that meant no hot meals for the noontime lunch crowd. “We know that they're getting a really good meal and the socialization they need here,” explains the center’s director Mary LaMar. “I think they miss it a lot when we’re closed, I really do.”
When roads aren't safe for volunteer drivers, the center doesn't provide its free shuttle service either and some seniors have no way of getting to doctor appointments. “I take the senior bus,” Dolores Spruell admits. “I tipped over once in the winter and that cured me of driving in the snow.”
For three days this week Senior Nutrition Services couldn't deliver meals to home bound seniors in Cass, Berrien or Van Buren County. Those people settled for shelf stable emergency meals, otherwise known as cold canned goods. Not the lucky ones like Avis Thompson, “I have daughter who works in St. Joseph, so she went to the store during her lunch hour and brought me groceries this week,” Thompson says with a smile. “I thank God for my two daughters, because they give me companionship when I can't come to the senior center.”
Area agencies remind you to check on seniors living in your neighborhood. In time, you too could come to need a little help and companionship.