Louisville Refugee Elder Program

Rhonda J. Miller

A federal program to keep older adults in the workforce is struggling to find more businesses in the Owensboro region willing to hire these elders after they upgrade their skills.

In the first of a two-part series, WKU Public Radio looks at efforts to expand the the regional Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), and how one 74-year-old who particpated in the program is thriving in her new job.

Dee Padgett has been in her job as office manager at United Way of the Coalfield in Madisonville since September. 

Webster County

The new Webster County Senior Center opens June 19 and will offer expanded services to elders in the community.

The new senior center in the town of Dixon is housed in the buildling previously used by the county ambulance service.

The completely renovated facility now includes a kitchen, community meeting rooms, exercise areas and space for crafts and other activities.

"This will be a chance for our county to show appreciation for those residents who have spent their lives making Webster County the place it is today, " said Judge Executive Steve Henry.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

Much of the effort to confront the opioid crisis in America has focused on young adult and middle-aged populations. But  a new study finds that more older adults, including those in Kentucky, are showing up in emergency rooms because of opioid misuse.

The results of the study, published in the journal Innovation in Aging, show that nationwide, emergency room visits due to opioid misuse by adults 65 and old more than tripled between 2006 and 2014. That increase was determined using data from emergency departments at hospitals in 34 states.

Associate Professor of Health Sciences at Towson University Mary Carter is the lead researcher on the study.

Carter said that during the five-year period from 2009 to 2014, the number of Kentuckians over 65 who visited emergency rooms for opioid misuse rose from 265 to 616. 

Rhonda J. Miller

When elder refugees arrive in America they leave behind violence or religious persecution, as well as family, culture and their native language. A program in Louisville, Kentucky helps refugees who are 60 and older transition to American life and avoid isolation.

This is a protection against isolation – a social hall alive with music that inspires clapping and dancing among refugees in their 60s, 70s, 80s and early 90s. It’s part of the Louisville Refugee Elder Program that serves arrivals from countries including Bhutan, Congo, Cuba, Iraq and Sudan.

The musician is 31-year-old Leiser Tito, a refugee from Cuba who came to the U.S. two years ago. One of the elder refugees comes up and enthusiastically introduces herself.