Carolina Foothills Eldercare program serves hundreds in its first year

Published 1:41 pm Friday, January 12, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Carolina Foothills Eldercare program was created in December 2022 by the Carolina Foothills Foundation to address the unmet needs of those 65 and older in Polk and Rutherford counties.  

Since that time, the Carolina Foothills Eldercare program has served hundreds of people by providing certified nursing assistants in homes on a sliding scale fee, life alert systems, referrals to the Meals on Wheels program in Polk County, home-delivered meals throughout Rutherford County for those not currently served by the Senior Center Program, mobility ramps and simple home repairs, transportation to local doctor appointments, durable medical equipment and supplies and pantry items.  

From December 2022 to the end of 2023, 149 home care patients were served in their homes, 135 life alert systems were provided, 33 ramps were installed, and 21,364 meals were delivered to 244 people.  

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Patient Harriet Spencer, who is cared for by Certified Nursing Assistant Miranda Jackson in her Columbus home, is grateful for the Eldercare Program. 

“Eldercare has made a tremendous difference in my life,” she says. “I have some mobility problems and having this program helps me with running errands and bathing and other personal tasks. Really, this has been a lifesaver and has allowed me to stay in my own home. I am very grateful for the services.”

Hospice of the Carolina Foothills transferred its hospice license to Agape Care Group in May 2022, and the former Hospice Board of Directors then created a public charity, the Carolina Foothills Foundation, to address eldercare, youth development and wellness issues in Polk and Rutherford counties. The primary focus of the Foundation is to provide services through the Carolina Foothills Eldercare Program to fill the gaps in eldercare in the area.  

“The Foundation Board of Directors, who also previously served on the Hospice of the Carolina Foothills Board, recognized that there was little focus on meeting the needs of the elderly who don’t qualify for Medicaid or VA benefits,” said Rita Burch, CEO of the Foundation and former CEO of Hospice of the Carolina Foothills. “In just a year’s time, we feel that we have developed services that enable people to live safely at home. We will continue to expand those services as other issues are identified.”  

Carolina Foothills Foundation also distributed over $2 million in additional grants to other agencies in Polk and Rutherford counties to meet elder, youth development and wellness needs.  

In addition to funding from the Carolina Foothills Foundation, the Carolina Foothills Eldercare program has received funding from individuals, estates and the Area Agency on Aging Foothills Regional Commission. All proceeds from the Carolina Foothills Eldercare Resale Shop also ensure people can receive services regardless of their ability to pay.

The Foundation is currently in need of volunteers, donations and shoppers at the Resale Shop, pantry items, and of course, donations.  If you know someone 65 years and older who can benefit from the services mentioned above, please call (828) 222-4350.  


Submitted by Heidi Owen