KULPMONT — Monday was a day for celebration at Life Geisinger, as its oldest attendee turned 99 years young.
With two of his daughters and his sister-in-law in attendance, World War II veteran Roland Ferentz, of Shamokin, was celebrated by staff and senior citizens, members of Kulpmont American Legion Post 231 and a representative from Rep. Kurt Masser’s (R-107) office.
In honor of Ferentz’s service, all veterans in attendance were also honored at a special table set up for them. They included Forrest Leer, Mark Shaffer, Bill Painter, Thomas Moffitt, Myron Turlis, Ed Bendas, Doug Gurnsey, Dolores Holloway and staff member Teresa Bohner.
Ferentz, who served in the Army, is the father of four children, 10 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. He was married to his wife, Mary, for 57 years before her passing.
In a short speech, Wendy Rishel, outreach and enrollment coordinator, said Ferentz enjoys bowling, fishing, casinos and ginger brandy.
Ferentz’s daughters are grateful a program such as Life Geisinger exists for their father to attend.
“For us, it’s a place for dad to go and to just develop more and be more active in his older years, and it’s a fantastic program,” said his daughter, Margaret Ferentz.
Ferentz lives in his home with 24/7 care, and Life Geisinger makes it easier for him to do that.
His daughter, Mary Ann Charnosky, is happy the program allows her father to continue his long-standing tradition of being a very sociable person without having to move into a nursing home.
“It’s a wonderful program to keep people at home. I can’t thank the girls and the program enough for all they’ve done,” Charnosky said.
Life Geisinger has been in Kulpmont for 11 years and services Northumberland, Montour, Columbia and parts of Schuylkill counties.
What makes the program unique is it allows those 55 and older to stay within their homes and communities while being provided care services and support. The center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but care is provided seven days a week.
Considered the nursing home alternative, Life Geisinger enrollees are able to have their medical care taken care of at the center’s medical clinic five days a week. The senior center/adult day care provides them the opportunity to socialize, eat a hot meal and enjoy activities outside of their home.
Additionally, Rishel said attendees have access to physical and occupational therapy on a daily basis.
With half of its 85 enrolled members living alone, the program also provides in home care, according to Rishel. This care includes a personal care aide who assists with things like bathing, dressing, cleaning, laundry, food preparation and more.
Because many attendees no longer drive or have caregivers who are unable to drive them to the center every day, transportation is provided through the Life Geisinger buses that deliver people to and from the site.
Rishel said daily needs such as medication, personal care supplies and more are also provided.
About 55 attend the center daily, and with a capacity of 84 people, Rishel said there’s plenty of open spots available for new enrollees.
“We are a Medicare- and Medicaid-funded program,” she said. “We’re a national program, which is known as the program of all-inclusive care for the elderly.”
With four locations, Life Geisinger provides assistance in nine counties throughout Pennsylvania.
“We change lives one senior at a time, and individuals who enroll with us, their quality of life increases tremendously because now they’re getting their medical care, they’re taking their prescriptions correctly, we’re monitoring them,” Rishel said. “They’re also getting out of their house and socializing a bit, so all of those pieces combined gives them more quality, and the respite it provides for the family members who are their caregivers is huge.”
To learn more about Life Geisinger and for those interested in attending, go to www.geisinger.org/health-plan/plans/life-geisinger or call the Kulpmont Life Geisinger at 570-373-2100.