NextAge Mississippi Begins!
By Michelle Daniel, VP of Philanthropy and Strategic Implementation
NextAge Mississippi has been a dream of Methodist Senior Services for a while. We wondered, “If we are always looking forward to the next age, then why do we hit a brick wall when we get to old age?” We want to provide a level of independence to elders who live at home and in retirement communities. With that in mind we have developed “NextAge Mississippi” which will be a “one-stop resource” to provide information, support, services, and relationships to older Mississippians and their families as they grow and live into elderhood—their next age.
We have refined our vision for NextAge Mississippi over the last couple of years to focus on four specific areas. First, we offer the Storefront, which offers common items for elders and their families and friends to order online and have the products shipped directly to their doors. We have partnered with Direct Supply, a medical supply company we have worked with for decades, to provide 250 elder-specific items online. The Storefront will be launched in the Spring/Summer of 2017 on our website, www.thenextage.org.
Second, in the Summer of 2017, we will begin to offer at-home services beginning with a handyman service out of our Traceway campus, called Traceway At Home, which will serve elders in Lee County. Elders will be able to call 1-844-GO NEXTAGE (1-844-466-3982) to speak to a NextAge MS Navigator, who will complete a maintenance order through our automated system, and the handyman will make the house call. If the job is too big, we will refer the task to a screened technician in that particular field (plumbing, electric, HVAC, etc.). We will grow the handyman service in Lauderdale County after we have tested the process in Lee County.
Third, we will provide a one-stop information site on our website for elders looking for assistance with finding the right organization such as Medicare, Medicaid, the VA, Social Security, etc. Local numbers and websites will be provided on our website. We aim to also provide companion services in the future for elders who need a person to go with them to doctor’s appointments and document what was discussed for future reference.
Fourth, we will connect elders with transportation in Lee County. We surveyed older adults in Lee County and Lauderdale County in the summer of 2016, and the number one need elders have is transportation. We are currently compiling transportation services in Lee County to provide appropriate transportation to elders in need. We are planning on transportation beginning in late Summer/early Fall. Services include local churches, nonprofit organizations, public transportation and fee-for-service transportation such as taxis and Uber. We hope to reach out to other counties in the future.
Methodist Senior Services is at the cusp of a completely innovative service to elders through NextAge Mississippi, which could have only come to fruition with the vision and hard work of the amazing volunteers who served on the committees and participated in strategic planning. We are thankful for all who have been a part of this dream!
If you would like to assist in elders in the greater community obtain transportation and at home services they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to afford, please give to our NextAge Mississippi fund.