Vision for the Future
Everyone aging successfully by providing services to seniors.
Message from the Board President
Greetings and welcome to Senior Services Plus, Inc.
I am pleased and honored to be the president of your Board of Directors. We have such an incredible organization with a mission and vision to provide for everyone to age successfully through access to resources that is the key to this process. SSP began over 40 years ago as an idea from some community leaders to bring services together for area seniors.
We have such an incredible group of staff and volunteers. In 2019, Senior Services Plus, Inc. has provided direct services for 16,416 individuals and participated in indirect services for 14,175 individuals. Of the total, 18,775 were aged 55 plus, 70 individuals with disabilities, and 261 individuals ages 4 to 55 through the Wellness Center. There were 6,506 children served indirectly through the Foster Grandparents and Nutrition and Transportation program. Senior Services Plus, Inc. provides direct services for over 3,000 on a daily basis through all of their programs.
The past few years have been challenging economically, and we have seen several local area businesses providing services to our community shuttered. We have also had challenges with funding from the State of Illinois. However, SSP has weathered these challenges and has come out strong as we are continually fueled by our passion for our community and those we serve.
How It Began
Over 41 years ago, Floyd Galliher, Art Steinman, and Roy Morrow attended a potluck for a group of seniors at the community building at Rock Springs Park. After attending this meeting, it was decided that something had to be done on a larger scale that would provide a multitude of services and information to all seniors of the metro Alton area.
Galliher, a retiree of Standard Oil Co. Inc. and an ardent senior rights activist had previously helped to form many local senior clubs and groups, but now had a bigger challenge of trying to bring them all together. This idea led to the founding of the Alton Area Senior Council with Galliher as its president, Morrow as Vice President, and Hattie Harrington as Secretary/Treasurer. The Council was incorporated on January 17, 1973. Galliher and Morrow wanted a central location from which information and services could be disseminated to local senior clubs. This brought about the need for a building.
In 1993, Galliher and Morrow approached Mayor Paul Lenz about purchasing a site for the running of local senior programs. Several prospective buildings were considered: a small building on State St., a building on the corner of Central and 7th Streets, and even the old Humboldt school building. They were all scratched from consideration because of inadequate parking space. The Council was made aware of St. Marks’s Methodist Church (a satellite church of Metropolitan Methodist Church of Alton) at 3512 McArthur Blvd. The City of Alton donated $30,000 in revenue sharing monies to fund the purchase of the building. A second round of revenue sharing money from the city helped to renovate the former church site into a community senior center with offices and to purchase a minibus.
Grant applications were submitted to the newly formed Illinois Department on Aging for recreational services and a hot nutritional lunch. The Council was awarded a $75,000 Title VII nutrition program grant and a $52,000 Title III recreational and support services grant. Both grants required that there be a participant and/or community contributions.
Jean Eckhouse was appointed as a director to administer and carry out the functions of the new agency. On March 1974, the agency served its first meals at the McArthur Site. Later in the month, satellite meal sites were opened at the Middletown Neighborhood Center and the Metropolitan Methodist Church in Alton and the Recreation Center in East Alton. Meal sites in Cottage Hills and Hartford were opened later in the same year. The main kitchen at the McArthur site prepared an average of 250 meals a day, Monday through Friday, to be served to the nutritional program participants. The Council had named its meal program “Food, Facts, and Fun.” Any senior 60 years of age or older could participate. It was not a charity program because a donation was accepted by everyone who attended to help meet the local contribution required by the Department on Aging.
In early 1974, the agency had four minibuses and a station wagon to bring seniors to the meal programs and provide transportation for essential errands. Other services provided by the Council were counseling and referral, recreation, arts and crafts, and educational classes provided in conjunction with Lewis and Clark Community College.
The continued growth of the agency was evident because of the additional programs and satellite meal sites, which brought about a need for new staff and a building, in addition to the McArthur location. Funding for the addition was provided by Madison County Community Development and the labor was provided by senior volunteers. On August 1976, the volunteers tore down an old building on the present site of the Famous-Barr (Macy's) store in Alton. F.E. Widman Contractors allowed the volunteers to remove any salvageable material for erection at the McArthur building. They salvaged concrete blocks, timbers, and steel girders. On April 23, 1977, the new addition was completed and plans were underway to asphalt the parking lot and to expand and renovate the kitchen.
From its humble beginnings to the present, the agency has gone through one metamorphosis after another, emerging bigger, bolder, and stronger than before, even in the face of adversity and difficult economic times. It is conceivably the only senior agency in the state that offers every major funded program that the Illinois Department on Aging has developed, plus several of its own creations under one umbrella agency.
2019 Program Outcomes
Congregate Meal Program: Senior Services Plus, Inc. provides nutrition services for individuals who are low income and at risk due to their inability to afford daily, well-balanced meals. The Congregate Meal Program provides 120 meals daily through two dining sites throughout Madison and St. Clair Counties. Seniors are able to access 33% and one-third percent of their daily nutritional requirements through the dining sites by coming to four centers for lunch. The indicators for success for this program is for Senior Services Plus, Inc. to provide congregate meals to individuals age 60 + who are at risk for poor nutrition due to economic status and limited mobility; a nutritious meal in a group setting to promote better health and to reduce isolation. This is accomplished by providing meals for a suggested donation of $4.00. If a senior comes to a dining site without means to purchase a meal they can still receive a meal regardless of their ability to make a donation. The average suggested donation for the Congregate Dining Program is still less than the request. In 2019, the suggested donation was $2.06 or 69% of the total requested donation. The increase in the number of individuals using services and the lower donation is an indicator of the economic conditions of our community.
Outcomes: The projected outcome for this program is Senior Services Plus, Inc. will provide meals at community based dining sites meals to individuals age 60 + who are at risk for poor nutrition due to economic status and limited mobility, to promote better health and to reduce isolation. Indicator of success is that seniors will maintain/improve their quality of life. In 2019, the Senior Services Plus, Inc. Congregate Meal program has provided 16,718 meals for 742 persons who rely on Senior Services Plus, Inc. dining services for a daily nutritious meal. Senior Services Plus, Inc. serves a large number of individuals through the following catering sites:
- Riverbend Head Start 758 Children -- 320,795 breakfast, lunch, and snacks provided throughout the school year.
- St. Johns Community Adult Day Care, Collinsville and Edwardsville 71 individuals - 12,320 lunches
Foster Grandparent Program: Seniors in the Foster Grandparent Program, (FGP) give their experience and talent to improve the lives of children in need. Seniors, 60 and over, are given the opportunity to volunteer as tutors, mentors, or caregivers for children through a variety of community organizations including schools, Head Start programs, libraries and daycare centers. The FGP volunteers receive an hourly stipend of $2.65 and mileage for participating in the program. The Senior Services Plus, Inc. FGP program is the second largest program in the State of Illinois after Cook County in Chicago.
Outcomes: In 2018, 84 seniors, 60 and over, in the Foster Grandparent Program provided over 83,321 hours of volunteer service annually and acted as tutors, mentors, or caregivers to improve the lives of children in 13 school districts, Head Start and a variety of after school programs. In 2018, FGP volunteers provided individual tutoring for 5,749 children. All Foster Grandparent volunteers are classified as living at or below low income, and 100% live at 200% of the poverty level.
Meals On Wheels: Senior Services Plus Meals on Wheels program (MOW) provides nutrition services for individuals who are low income and at risk due to their inability to afford daily, well balanced meals. The Meals on Wheels Program provides 625 meals daily for seniors throughout 22 townships, and an average of 40 meals daily for individuals with disabilities in the same service area. The indictors for success for this program is that the MOW Program will provide quality nutritious meals to individuals 60 years of age or older that are homebound due to a medical condition and are categorized as low-income having the greatest economic and social needs. Individuals are referred through the Visiting Nurses Association for an assessment and then a contact is made to Senior Services Plus, Inc. MOW staff to start services. Individuals are asked for a suggested donation of $4.50 but no senior is turned down regardless of their ability to make a donation. Currently the MOW program is averaging $.21 or 5% of the requested donation, which is the lowest donation rate in our agency’s history.
Outcomes: The projected outcome for this program is that the Senior Services Plus, Inc. will provide Meals On Wheels to homebound individuals age 60 + with the greatest economic and social needs, in an effort to promote independence and to prevent institutionalization. One indicator of success is that Senior Services Plus, Inc. will provide 95% of the total projected number of 144,000 MOWs to delivered to homebound individuals age 60 +. In 2019, Senior Services Plus, Inc. has provided 106% or a total of 152,405 MOW’s, for 1,048 seniors, and 8,817 home delivered meals for 189 individuals with disabilities, veterans and participants from MCOs. Of the total, 90% are classified as living at or below 200% of the poverty level, 60% are women, 60% are living alone, 51% are over the age of 75 and 90% are classified as being frail due to their age and medical condition.
Information & Assistance: I&A Specialists advocate for seniors and people with disabilities with limited incomes by providing information and referral services for individuals to effectively access resources provided by Federal, State, and private and community organizations. In 2019, I&A services were provided for five days a week at our Alton headquarters, once a month at the Glen Carbon Community Center and at two Senior Housing Facilities in Alton, at the Mascoutah Senior Center, Millstadt, and five days a week at PSOP in Belleville. The indictors for success for this program is that Senior Services Plus, Inc. projects providing 6,800 units of I&A services to individuals age 60+ with the greatest economic and social needs to effectively access resources to make informed decisions concerning available services that impact the quality of their lives.
Outcomes: The projected outcome for this program is that Senior Services Plus, Inc. projects providing 6,800 units of I&A services to individuals age 60+ with the greatest economic and social needs to effectively access resources to make informed decisions concerning available services that impact the quality of their lives. The indicator for success is that Senior Services Plus, Inc. will provide 95% of the projected number of 6,800 I & A units. In 2019 I & A has provided 4,494 seniors with 8,358 units of services. I&A is contracted to provide only 6800 units of I&A and we continue to surpass our annual goal for the 11th year in a row. Senior Services Plus, Inc. is the only provider in Southern Illinois that has three full time I & A Specialists that provide services. There is a growing number of the aging population living at or below the poverty and they are making choices on basic needs and will need advocacy and support in maximizing their limited resources. Of the total number of seniors served, 75% are living at or below 200% of the poverty level.
Ombudsman: The Senior Services Plus, Inc. Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is located in Area 8 in Illinois and we provide service to a seven county area that includes Madison, Clinton, Monroe, Randolph, Washington, and St. Clair counties. Over these seven counties, there are 132 long-term care facilities that together could house up to 9,313 residents aged18 and above. In Madison County, there are 60 different facilities that have the capacity to hold over 4,000 residents. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is mandated by the Federal Older Americans Act and the Illinois Act on Aging.
Outcomes: In 2019 Senior Services Plus, Inc. served 2,470 individuals with 1,119 visits to facilities, 2,122 consults with residents and 431 successful case closures of consultations that were opened.
Community Outreach: Senior Services Plus, Inc. provides seniors with educational and recreational opportunities in a group setting to promote better health and to reduce isolation. The program is an essential component in encouraging companionship and easing loneliness through a variety of recreational and social activities. Programs include education and health services provided by guest speakers and area health and fitness agencies. The Senior Services Plus, Inc. newsletter, The Companion, is a huge component in recruiting individuals for programs, trips, and wellness prevention activities; it is distributed to to over 6,500 individuals every two months. Many of the Community Outreach programs are funded by direct private pay for services, and the fees are very affordable for those seniors who are on limited income.
Senior Emergency Fund:
Wellness Center: The Senior Services Plus, Inc. Wellness Program continues to offer a fully outfitted fitness center with classes based on our agency values that all individuals aged 55+ should have access to an affordable wellness program. In 2019, Senior Services Plus, Inc. opened a state of the art 10,000 square foot wellness center that was a seven year effort of a $2.5 million dollar capital campaign.