Creason revels in lending a hand
Carole Creason of Chicago is the executive director of the Seniors Assistance Center in Norridge. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Name: Carol Creason
Known As: executive director, Seniors
Updated: August 6, 2012 6:45AM
NORRIDGE—Never did Carole Creason dream a temporary job would lead to such a fulfilling occupation.
For the past four years, Creason has been the executive director of the Seniors Assistance Center, 7774 W. Irving Park Road, Norridge, which serves residents of the village, Harwood H eights and unincorporated Norwood Township.
“This was going to be a temporary position,” she said. “They asked me to stay permanently. This is a wonderful organization that helps a lot of people who are most in need of help.”
The center is a direct service agency, which means it provides services such as home delivered meals; the friendly visitors program for lonely or isolated seniors in which a volunteer will go out and visit and develop a relationship; and the telephone reassurance program in which volunteers make calls to seniors to check on them.
“A lot of seniors don’t have family close by,” she noted.
Empathy for the center’s clients is apparent in Creason’s voice.
Addressing the state’s elimination of the Illinois Cares Rx prescription subsidy program, she said the center has been inundated with calls.
“People don’t know what to do about their prescription costs,” she said. “And the state didn’t give much notice.”
The program ended July 1.
“Seniors received letters about it two weeks prior,” Creason said. “Many are going to have to choose between their medication and eating. This was a program based on income.”
Creason expressed an equal amount of consternation about funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
LIHEAP is a federal program that funnels funds to the state to help people in need pay for heating and cooling costs.
“We’re still waiting to hear about LIHEAP, and whether seniors will have any money for cooling this summer,” Creason said. “We usually hear something by the last week in June. We still don’t know.”
In spite of those problems, Creason still finds satisfaction in her job.
“We still have a lot to offer,” she noted.
The center has a case management division that helps clients navigate the system when it comes to what documents are needed to qualify for the various programs.
The center also works with La Grange-based Aging Care Connections, which provides assistance with elder abuse cases.
The staff conducts yearly, in-home assessments to make sure seniors are receiving the services they need, or if those needs have changed.
Creason said many of the programs rely on volunteers.
“Volunteers are so important to us,” she said. “We have a small staff, so volunteers help keep the programs going.”