Friends of Gwinnett Seniors (Friends) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) volunteer-run organization dedicated to raising funds to privately support or supplement senior programming in Gwinnett County, Georgia.
In 1999, a concerned citizen delivering donated day-old bread to needy seniors in her area got the attention of a group of concerned advocates on aging, which included Georgia State Senator Renee Unterman, to discuss addressing the future needs of the growing senior population in Gwinnett. This group of individuals established Friends of Gwinnett County Senior Services, Inc. as a nonprofit with the purpose of supplementing core programs for seniors, meeting emergency needs, and extending boundaries for support.
Over the years as this senior population dramatically increased beyond projections, Friends founders, whose original vision had allowed for future growth, never quite anticipated the magnitude of the “graying of Gwinnett” and its impact on the community.
Recognizing the potential burden on federal- and state- and locally-funded programs to support this growth trend, Friends founders — along with other professionals and advocates working with this aging population — saw the benefit of helping seniors “age in place” with the assistance of local services. Seniors typically resist leaving the homes they’re comfortable in and worked hard to acquire to enter a nursing home or assisted facility. These facilities, which are typically paid for by Medicare or Medicaid, would cost an ever-increasing amount of taxpayer money with the every-increasing aging population. Why not support efforts to help seniors remain independent in their own homes?
Friends initially raised funds to sponsor home-delivered meals as well as transportation and adult day care support for frail seniors at the local county senior center. Support later expanded to assist with transportation to medical appointments. They saw the need for help with housekeeping and caregiver respite — and on and on. Since that time, Friends has continued to expand its focus to prioritize areas of greatest need for this community. As a result, current priorities include commitment to—
- combating food insecurity
- supporting access to medical transportation
- providing emergency assistance
- promoting personal safety and well-being
- collaborating on home repairs and modifications
Friends’ support offers seniors in Gwinnett assistance and options for them to live as active and visible participants in their community and experience a healthy, safe, and fulfilling life in the home setting of their choice.