When people reach their golden years, many want to be able to enjoy time with family and relaxing in their homes.

Editor's note: This article looks at advantaged for seniors who remain in their homes, as well as community resources that can help them do so. It includes information from local service providers and the United States Census Bureau.

When people reach their golden years, many want to be able to enjoy time with family and relaxing in their homes.
McPherson County has several resources available to assist seniors in maintaining independence for as long as possible.
“It's a lot less strain on their financial resources if they can stay in their homes,” said Terry Bolte, director of the McPherson County Council on Aging. “Nursing homes are expensive, and many seniors are on a budget.”
By 2050, as many as 1 in 5 Americans could be age 65 or older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, or about 80 million people. Family support and community resources can help them maintain independence, which in turn improves safety and quality of life for seniors.
“Seniors remaining in their home provides stability and continuity in the neighborhoods they live in, churches they attend and community groups they are involved with,” said Chris Scott, Executive Director of Bluestem PACE. “Aging in the home allows seniors to remain integrated in the community providing the people they encounter the opportunity to share their life experiences. Our aging population possesses a wealth of knowledge and history that we are privileged to access at the post office, grocery store, park or anywhere we interact with them throughout our community.”
Bluestem PACE, or Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, recently opened a location in McPherson and is one of several community resources available to help the elderly. These programs are focused on preventative care, keeping seniors strong and health allowing them to maintain their independence.
“Seniors enrolled in a PACE program exercise their independent and choice by being active participants in the care plan and goals of that care,” Scott  said. “This partnership with the care team provides participants a high satisfaction of their quality of life and the quality of care they receive. In the 30-year history of PACE, 93 percent of people participating in the program live out their entire lives in their home and community.”
The McPherson County Council on Aging can also help seniors maintain independence by connecting them to programs and resources as well as offering advice.
“We have a resource guide that talks about state and federal programs for seniors,” said Lori Hager-Johnson, senior advisor for the council. “These include adult daycare, where caregivers and drop off and pick up their loved ones, as well as home health agencies.”
The council can also connect seniors and their families with volunteers who can help with yard work and house cleaning.
“These are things the elderly can't necessarily do on their own,” Bolte said.
McPherson county also has eight senior centers, which provide social opportunities for seniors in addition to meals.
There are also steps seniors and their families can take on their own to improve the chances of remaining independent.
“Being aware of our limitation but still remaining as active as possible can help maintain mobility increasing independence as we age,” Scott said. “Family and friends can affirm a senior's independence by allowing them to perform activities that they are able to while compassionately supporting them with assistance for the task they are no longer safely able to do. It is also important to be aware of the changes or decline in our aging loved ones to address concerns before they become problematic.”
The McPherson County Council on Aging, 926 N. Main St., McPherson, is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Hager-Johnson, who specializes in connecting seniors to resources, is present Tuesday through Friday. No appointment is needed.
For more information on Bluestem PACE in McPherson, contact Emilie Rains, intake coordinator, at 620-504-5919 or emilier@bluestemks.org