Harker Heights: City launches new program to help seniors

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HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas (KWTX) The Harker Heights Police Department is launching a free service to check up on senior citizens and others who may live alone.

(Photo by Kathleen Serie)

The Shining Star program is one of the new services offered under the department’s Healthy Homes initiative, which has been in operation for five years.

"What we have seen is an un-met population, and that is those seniors, or those who are disabled, living at home alone, and that's one of the reasons we started the Shining Star program, is to really address that unmet need,” Health Homes Coordination Kerry Ann Frazier said.

The free program includes daily automated phone calls checking if the resident is OK, live weekly phone calls, and home visits.

Shining Star also aims to connect senior citizens with other programs in the community.

"We're not the only resource,” Frazier said. “We are a resource, and what we do is link these families to people who can continue to serve them long-term."

The service will be run by Frazier, as well as a group of interns and volunteers.

"Whether it is mowing their lawn, or they're getting their groceries, or do they need help getting their medication, while some people might just need someone to talk to,” Frazier said.

Frazier said that while many cities have a similar call system set up, the Shining Star program goes beyond that.

“Although we check on them on a weekly basis, what we aim to do is connect them with services immediately, whether that is home health, or hospice, or just meals on wheels, or the visiting angels,” Frazier said.

Residents said a friendly face goes a long way when you’re alone.

"They just lift my spirits when they come by because they're smiling, and they're asking me how I feel, and stuff like that,” Shining Star participant Geneva Stampley said.

Jinny Stell, who has lived alone for 11 years said her daughter will be relieved that she recently signed up for the program.

"Vicky worries, and she's clear up in West Virginia, and she can only get down here about once a year,” Stell said.

She said the program may ease her mind as well.

"Getting in and out of the bathtub, and I think, if I fell back here, nobody would know," Stell said.

If you or a loved one would like to apply for the program, or if you are interested in volunteering, contact Frazier at the Harker Heights Police Department.

Kerry Ann Zamore Frazier
Office: 254-953-5439
Fax: 254-953-5488
kfrazier@ci.harker-heights.tx.us