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Leelanau County Volunteer Organization Helps Isolated Seniors

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Age can do a number on our bodies — and when health suffers, day to day tasks get harder.    

That’s why a Leelanau County organization is sending volunteers to make life a little easier on seniors.

Leelanau County is one of the top places in the state for people to retire, but the area can lend itself to seclusion – which makes it hard for seniors to get to where they need to go.

“They’ve been my life line. Unfortunately at 97, you begin to have some needs,” Ethel Wills said.

Ethel Wills has macular degeneration and can no longer drive.

That’s where Sharecare of Leelanau County steps in.

“Sharecare has been driving me a lot. Whenever I’ve asked, I try not to, and I try to find out when is a good day because drivers come from different sections of the county. Instead of my helping people, people were helping me. Which is the way it works.”

Volunteers take seniors to doctors appointments, provide respite and help them run errands.

Sharecare also lends out medical equipment.

“Allow seniors to stay in their homes as long as possible safely. For many they don’t want to have to go to assisted living or move out of the county to be with relatives,” said President and Volunteer Vina Mikesell.

It doesn’t just help the seniors themselves … Sharecare also steps in for their families. Caregivers can provide a more home-like environment to those visiting patients in the hospital.

“I will get a hold of the member in the hospital and ask how we can help. Do they need meals? While the spouse is going back and forth visiting their loved one in the hospital?” said Care Coordinating Nurse Anne Kelly.

Ethel is a former Sharecare volunteer who now needs its services.

The organization helps more than 300 seniors, she calls it a lifesaver in Leelanau County.

“I don’t know how people would manage without Sharecare. A lot of people I know just depend on it.”

If you want to become a member or help volunteer, please call Sharecare at (231) 256-0221.