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Volunteers to Go Door-to-Door to Identify Health Needs
LOWELL, Mass. ߝ Beginning on the morning of Saturday, April 11, volunteers with “Lowell Seniors Count” will be going door to door on Varnum Avenue and throughout the Pawtucketville neighborhood to deliver resource bags and conduct brief interviews with seniors. The project, organized by UMass Lowell Prof. Andrew Hostetler, is part of a city-wide, comprehensive, door-to-door census and needs assessment of all senior citizens living in Lowell and aims to serve the health and well-being of our diverse community of seniors.
Pawtucketville neighbors Lowell General Hospital and D’Youville Senior Care are also represented on a trained volunteer team who will meet seniors, collect some basic information with a brief questionnaire, and provide resource bags with safety and health-related items and information. The campaign ߝ which begins with a volunteer kickoff at 10 a.m. on April 11 at Lowell General Hospital ߝ will continue for several weeks to reach all residents in the neighborhood over age 60.
“This project will give us a comprehensive portrait of Lowell seniors’ health, well-being and quality of life, and of the resources and services needed to achieve ‘optimal aging’ for all community members,” says Hostetler. “Many of our seniors are not currently taking advantage of the resources and services available to them. By understanding the needs of our diverse senior population, we can better find ways to serve them today and into the future. And we also want to meet those seniors who are already doing well!”
To date, resource bags have been delivered to more than 2,000 seniors and approximately 1,200 seniors have been interviewed. The effort, which started with the large housing complexes in the downtown region, will be conducted in all 11 of the city’s neighborhoods. Throughout the spring and summer, volunteers will be going door-to-door several times a week, including Saturdays, in an attempt to reach everyone. Volunteers have all been trained and screened with extensive background checks, and are identified by official badges, T-shirts and tote bags with the Lowell Seniors Count logo. Any senior who wishes to participate in the survey outside their home may drop in to the information table at Lowell General Hospital from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or to the Lowell Senior Center on Thursdays in April from 9 to 11 a.m.
Individuals who are interested in volunteering and volunteers who have already been trained and would like to get more involved should contact Andy Hostetler at 978-934-3979 or Andrew_Hostetler@uml.edu.
The “Lowell Seniors Count” project is spearheaded by the Lowell Senior Center and the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Sponsors and collaborating partners include the city of Lowell Division of Planning and Development, the Lowell Police Department, the Lowell Housing Authority, Lowell Community Health, Trinity EMS, Merrimack Valley Nutrition, Project Bread, Elder Services of Merrimack Valley and the Lowell Sun, among others.
UMass Lowell, with a national reputation in science, engineering and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success in a diverse world and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental and social health of the region. UML offers its 12,000 students more than 120 degree choices, internships, five-year combined bachelor’s to master’s programs and doctoral studies in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management, the School of Health and Environment, and the Graduate School of Education. www.uml.edu