Social Services - A Message from our Social Worker Melanie Amin

Have you ever been concerned about the wellbeing of an older neighbor or friend in Niles? Maybe you felt the person was struggling with their health, their finances or their sense of safety in the community.

Worrying about a fellow senior can be a difficult problem to manage. Although you may want to provide support and assistance to a friend or neighbor, you may not know where to start or where to turn.

To address the challenges that Niles residents, businesses and organizations may face in assisting a senior in trouble, the Niles Senior Center created Niles Helping Elders through Referral and Outreach (HERO). The HERO program is a collaborative, community-based system for identifying and assisting older adults at-risk physically, emotionally, socially or financially.

The program offers community members a way to confidentially refer vulnerable seniors to needed resources. As Niles Senior Center social workers, we can respond to your HERO referrals by reaching out to a senior and offering comprehensive assessment, referral, case management and counseling services.

In addition, we can offer crisis intervention, help arrange in-home support services and address concerns about available community resources.

When Should I Make a Hero Referral?
We encourage community members to connect with us if they are concerned about a fellow senior. We can help you determine what resources might be helpful to address the situation you’re concerned about. Some general reasons to refer older peers to the HERO program include:

Signs and Symptoms of Distress/Emotional Changes (confusion; depression; severe forgetfulness)
  • Health Issues (difficulty coping with medical issues; reduced ability to manage daily life; struggling with self-care; falling; homebound)
  • Safety Issues (wandering; kitchen fires; disconnected phones; occasionally unable to recognize surroundings)
  • Financial Issues (problems managing finances and paying bills; can’t make change or balance checkbook)
  • Caregiver Issues (caregiver appears overwhelmed or expresses anxiety about caring for a spouse, relative or adult vulnerable child)

How Can I Make a HERO Referral?
To make a HERO referral, call (847) 588-8460 and say, “I want to make a HERO referral.” Your referral will be directed to the senior social work department, where one of our workers will follow-up with you for more information about the senior. After the worker assesses the situation, they will then try to personally connect with the at-risk senior to address concerns or conflicts.

It is important to note that your HERO referral will remain confidential. Unless authorized by you, no other individual, agency or department of the Village of Niles will be aware of your contacts with us.

To learn more about the Niles HERO program, please contact Melanie Amin at (847) 588-8460. We look forward to answering any questions you might have.

Join Us for the Discussion Group: Grief, Loss and Change

While this group will support people coping with grief and bereavement, we welcome participants managing other types of loss. Some examples of issues we will cover include: 

Changes in health or mobility,
Changes in relationships with friends and family,
Adapting to living alone or with others, 
Worries about adult children or family members.

This program is open to Niles residents only and meets the third Wednesday of each month from 3:00 to 4:30pm. 
Upcoming meeting dates are July 18 and August 15.

There is no cost to attend the program, but registration is required. Please contact Barbara Duran at (847) 588-8460 for more information.