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– Reported by George Arsenault

At the Senior Men’s Club Luncheon on Tuesday, October 10th, Peggy Hayes, the Executive Director of Services for Older Citizens, told us about this wonderful organization called SOC. Services for Older Citizens is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to helping seniors of the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods maintain their lives in independence and dignity. It was created in 1978 by a small group from Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods who called their organization “Seniors Onward for Change.” The founders envisioned an organization that would be a one-stop shop with an array of services dedicated to the object of helping senior residents remain in their own home with dignity.

Four years later the name was changed to Services for Older Citizens. For many years SOC operated out of various schools and community centers. In 2012, The Henry Ford Medical Center generously made the Newberry House, formerly the nurses residence at Cottage Hospital, available for a nominal sum. Services for Older Citizens then embarked on an extensive reconstruction project, made possible by generous donations from hundreds of community residents, turning the former dormitory into a state-of-the-art center for senior activities and community events. In June 2013, SOC moved into the newly named John A. and Marlene L. Boll House.

From their beautiful building on Ridge Road, SOC delivers Meals on Wheels and provides door-to-door transportation through the Pointe Area Assisted Transportation Service (PAATS) buses. PAATS rides are available to any over 60 or disabled resident of the Grosse Pointes or Harper Woods. Residents of Grosse Pointe Park can get free tickets at City Hall.  SOC provides numerous other services and activities for people over the age of 60, including free volunteer escort service for medical appointments, Medicare counseling,  medical  equipment lending, assistance with minor home chores and home safety; free income tax preparation assistance; care giver support groups; health and fitness classes; technology instruction; trips, lectures, parties and other social enrichment programs, including ballroom dancing; bingo and card games. This wide variety of health and wellness enhancement and recreation programs are designed to encourage social interaction and better health for seniors.

Many of the SOC programs are provided by nearly 400 volunteers, who last year donated nearly 42,000 hours of service, including drivers who have delivered over 18,000 meals on wheels. The PAATS staff has furnished more than 20,000 rides to medical appointments, errands, and social activities. The SOC staff and volunteers also provided over 27,000 hours of assistance in more than 3,100 sessions of health screening classes, games, crafts, technology assistance, and other activities for older citizens. Peggy invited anyone from the Senior Men’s Club to visit SOC at 158 Ridge Road for a tour of the facility.

SOC needs over $1 million annually to maintain these services. About 70% of this funding is provided by donations including personal contributions, grants, and gifts from charitable foundations. SOC is not government operated and not supported by local taxes.

Thank you, Peggy Hayes, for your excellent talk enlightening us about what is available for citizens in need and where other citizens can volunteer their time, talents, and skills to support our neighbors. For more information and to learn how you can help or donate to SOC, visit their website at or call them at (313) 882-9600.



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