By Lynne Garms
People are living longer, and the baby boomer population is getting older. Between 2010 and 2015 the older adult population grew 19.3% – triple that of the total population growth.*
Studies predict that by 2036, 1 in 4 Forsyth County residents will be over the age of 60.
Senior adults moving to Kernersville during their retirement years to be closer to their adult children and their families, and individuals choosing to stay in Kernersville after raising their children account for an increase in the older adult population.
Our senior population is a valuable resource to many, bringing a rich heritage to our community. These seniors were once the performers, the doctors, the inventors, the planners, and the providers. Many individuals remain healthy and active as they age, however, others may struggle with health issues. The Shepherd’s Center of Kernersville (TSCK) is here for both groups of adults, helping them maintain their quality of life to age and thrive in our community.
TSCK was founded in the mid 1980’s when three women, Pat Henderson, Sandra Jennings, and Nancy Konvalinka presented to the Kernersville community their concern that older adults in Kernersville needed assistance to maintain or increase their quality of life. This was the beginning of the ministry of The Shepherd’s Center of Kernersville (TSCK).
The Shepherd’s Center of Kernersville (TSCK) became an interfaith ministry of volunteers which champions and sustains adults who are aging or with disabilities serving Kernersville and its surrounding area within a twelve-mile radius of downtown.
The vision of The Shepherd’s Center of Kernersville is to empower individuals and enrich the lives of older or disabled adults in our community. We believe this provides dignity, respect, purpose, and other essentials of life.
We are proud to support this vital group of our population by offering the following programs and services to meet the needs of aging and disabled adults in our community:
- Transportation: Volunteer drivers provide rides to medical appointments, social service agency appointments, tax preparation appointments, grocery shopping, or other personal need destinations such as hair appointments.
- Telephone Reassurance: Volunteers place weekday calls to recipients who have requested this service. This service helps combat isolation as well as making sure the recipient is being checked on daily.
- Person to Person Visitation: Enjoy the company of a regular visitor with one of our volunteers for a short visit.
- Respite Care (Companion Sitting): Caregivers of persons living with chronic illnesses are provided a few hours of free time by our volunteers.
- Personal Shopper & Prescription Pick Up: Volunteer shoppers pickup, fulfill, and deliver grocery and pharmacy orders.
- Counseling: Offer one hour counseling sessions with a retired volunteer counselor with a Master’s degree in Counseling.
- Project Joy: Volunteers procure, arrange, and deliver donated flowers to those suffering illness or loss, celebrating milestones, or just needing a “lift”.
- Senior Financial Care Counseling: Providing financial and insurance support via phone and in-person appointments with a Financial and Certified SHIIP Counselor.
- Handy Person: Volunteers provide free labor for minor home repairs inside or outside the home with limited availability.
- Elder Law Legal Aide: Providing legal support via phone and in-person appointments with an Attorney.
- Senior Enrichment Center: A full-time “Center of Excellence” offering a variety of life enriching activities and classes in arts, education and enrichment, fun and games, and health and wellness.
- Bill Radisch Computer Center for Seniors: Volunteer instructors offer one on one computer and other electronic device operational education and assistance at the Senior Enrichment Center.
- Caregiver Education/Support Group: Monthly meeting held at the Senior Enrichment Center covering different topics.
- Equipment Loan Program: Our Senior Enrichment Center offers durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs, shower chairs, and walkers for short-term or long-term needs on a three-month renewable basis for as long as needed.
- Income Tax Preparation: Free annual income tax return preparation appointments February through mid-April in partnership with AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program.
- Resource & Information Referrals: Staff and volunteers provide names and numbers of organizations that can assist with any services not provided by The Shepherd’s Center of Kernersville.
- It takes all of us working together to build a place where families can grow and thrive and older adults can age in place gracefully.
Currently, these programs and services are operated at two locations in Kernersville. Our offices and services coordination are located at 431 B Bodenhamer St. in a building they share with Crisis Control Ministries. Our activities and programs take place at our Senior Enrichment Center located in the basement of the building at 130 E. Mountain Street; a building they share with the Salvation Army.
Through the support we have received from individuals, churches, businesses, and civic groups in our community, TSCK is pleased to announce that on Monday, July 12, we were able to purchase a building of our own where our offices and services and our Senior Enrichment Center come together under one roof. Our future home, at 636 Gralin Street in Kernersville is just the beginning of our vision. With the help of the community going forward to upfit and furnish this building, we hope to open the doors of our new facility by late fall with expanded programs and services.
This year promises to be an exciting year for us. Besides our new building and its forthcoming opening, we have activities, events, and fundraisers planned for the fall and beyond.
On October 8, we will host the 31st Annual Golf Tournament “Time to Tee It Up!” This event promises to be an exciting afternoon of golf for all golfers from beginners to experts. From hole-in-one prizes to Par 5 surprises, this year’s tournament will prove to be the best yet!
The tournament will take place at Pine Knolls Golf Course beginning at 12 noon with a complimentary lunch and 1 PM shotgun start. This is a terrific way to support TSCK. All proceeds from this tournament stay in Kernersville.
For more information about our program and service offerings, volunteering or sponsoring and/or playing in our golf tournament, go to our website, www.ShepCtrKville.com or call 336-996-6696.
We are honored that our community believes in our service mission and invite both the young and old to partner with us as we move into the future. As we come together in support of the Seniors and Adults with Disabilities in our community, we will strengthen our foundations for generations to come.
*PTRC Area Agency on Aging, An Overview of the Aging Population and Individuals with disabilities, June 2018.