Breaking Through Barriers: Support for Seniors

In every stage of a person’s life there will surely be obstacles. For seniors, undertaking the most seemingly basic tasks can be a never-ending struggle. Whether it’s navigating their Medicare plan or just finding a ride to the grocery store, the daily demands of life are more than a hassle—for some it seems impossible. However, there are plenty of resources out there to help Citrus, Hernando and Marion seniors.

The Department of Elder Affairs provides numerous state-funded programs for Florida seniors that assist with transit, daily nutrition, employment opportunities and other relevant issues they may face. To sift through the plethora of programs for our seniors, the communications director of the Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA), Ashley Marshall, has provided a few key resources to keep in mind for yourself or your loved ones. In most cases, help is just a phone call away.

Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative (ADI)

The Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative provides specialized services tailored for the needs of those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other memory disorders along with their families. The ADI provides caregiver respite services and support, which includes in-home, facility-based, emergency and extended care programs. In the past year, 3,348 individuals received services through the ADI, which included support services, specialized medical equipment, supplies, training, counseling and other services.

Memory Disorder Clinics

The state has designated 15 memory disorder clinics for seniors who exhibit symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other memory disorders. The clinics provide assessments, diagnostic services and treatments. In addition, they provide specialized training resources for caregivers of those with memory disorders.

Convenient to Citrus and Marion:

University of Florida Memory Disorder Clinic, McKnight Brain Institute

1149 Newell Dr., Bldg. 59, Rm. L5-101, Gainesville / (352) 273-5550

Convenient to Hernando:

Orlando Health, Center for Aging & Memory Disorder Clinic

21 West Columbia St., Orlando / (321) 841-9700

Older Worker Program (SCSEP)

(352) 244-5142

For individuals over 55 who need help finding a job, contact the Florida Institute for Workforce Innovation. Through their federally funded SCSEP program, they place seniors in paying, part-time positions in not-for-profit organizations or governmental entities so seniors can get back on their feet again.

SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) Program

(800) 963-5337

This program provides free, unbiased and confidential health care counseling to Medicare beneficiaries, their families and caregivers to ensure that seniors’ needs are being met and they are able to make the best decisions for their health care and financial needs. Medicare plans change each year, and this is the only time when those already enrolled in Medicare can change their plans, which could possibly save seniors hundreds of dollars.

“The SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) program is a wonderful, free program of DOEA where trained volunteers help Florida’s Medicare beneficiaries choose the plans that best meet their needs,” Marshall says. But don’t wait; the Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare runs through December 7. To contact a SHINE volunteer for free assistance, call the statewide, toll-free Elder Helpline at (800) 96-ELDER (35337).

Senior Legal Helpline

(888) 895-7873

The Senior Legal Helpline provides legal advice and brief services by telephone to Florida residents age 60 and older for civil legal problems at no cost. The helpline can be used to help resolve legal issues, give referrals to regulatory agencies and, when necessary, locate legal providers.

Citrus County

Meals on Wheels Program

2804 W. Marc Knighton Ct., Lecanto

(352) 527-5975

Since 1979, Citrus County Support Services have been providing hot, noontime meals to over 400 people a day. This meal delivery service also provides a daily well-being check and can often add much needed social interaction through their short visits.

Senior Dining Program

For those who are still able to drive but need help with meals, Citrus County’s Senior Dining Program is a great option. Fresh meals are prepared daily at four different community centers throughout Citrus County. Attendees are also encouraged to participate in various social activities, classes and games that are often going on at the centers.


Central Citrus Community Center

2804 W. Marc Knighton Ct., Lecanto

(352) 527-5993

East Citrus Community Center

9907 E. Gulf to Lake Hwy, Inverness


Inverness Community Center

1082 N. Paul Dr., Inverness

(352) 726-1009

West Citrus Community Center

8940 W. Veterans Dr., Homosassa

(352) 795-3831

Transit Services

1300 S. Lecanto Hwy, Lecanto

(352) 527-7630

Citrus County seniors can depend on Transit Services for safe, clean and reliable transportation. Whether it’s needed for essential doctors appointments or to visit a local boutique, seniors can be picked up right from their own doorstep. Fees are required, but some may be eligible for a reduced fare after filling out an application. For more information or to schedule a ride, please call (352) 527-7630.

Senior Care Services

2804 W. Marc Knighton Ct., Lecanto

(352) 527-5930

For in-home senior services, contact Senior Care Services at (352) 527-5930. They offer an abundance of programs and services for homebound clients over the age of 60. Programs included help with homemaking duties, such as mopping, dusting and cleaning, personal care assistance, such as bathing and grooming, caregiver relief for family members and can even provide companionship such as a sitter or reader.

Hernando County

Home Delivered Meals / (352) 796-1425

Mid-Florida Community Services offers seniors meals that are delivered directly to their door. This federally funded program ensures people over the age of 60 have access to a nutritional meal every weekday. Although there are no fees for the service, contributions are greatly appreciated. There is no fee for the service, but all contributions are very much appreciated. For more information call (352) 796-1425.

Congregate Meals / (352) 796-1425

For free, hot meals in a welcoming environment, come to one of Mid-Florida Community Services’ four convenient meal sites. Serving times vary, so check with each site beforehand. For more information or to reserve a meal, call (352) 796-1425.

Congregate Meal Sites:

Brooksville Dining Site at Oak Hill Enrichment Center

670 S. Broad St.,Brooksville

South Brooksville Dining Center

841 School St., Brooksville

Ridge Manor Community Center Dining Site

34240 Cortez Blvd., Ridge Manor

Spring Hill Dining Site at Oak Hill Enrichment Center

11375 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville


(352) 799-1510

The Transportation Disadvantaged, Para-Transit service is a shared ride service designed to provide low-cost door to door transportation for seniors, physically or mentally challenged individuals and the disadvantaged residents of Hernando County. These services are primarily intended for medical appointments and other essential appointments. To schedule a pick-up, call (352) 799-1510 no later than 24 hours in advance.

Marion County

Marion Senior Services Congregate Meals

1101 SW 20th Ct., Ocala

(352) 620-3501 /

Marion Senior Services’ main office offers seniors a hot, noontime meal Monday thru Friday. Serving times are 9am to 1pm and again from 3pm to 6pm. They are also home to a variety of other senior services. In conjunction, they help support 11 other facilities around Marion County with congregate meals. For a list of other facilities that may be closer to you, call or visit their website at


1101 SW 20th Ct., Ocala

(352) 620-3501 /

Meals-On-Wheels has been delivering hot, noontime meals to seniors for over 40 years. The healthy meal meets one-third of an adult’s daily nutritional requirements. Additionally, the Meals-On-Wheels program serves as a daily well-being check. Homebound senior citizens should contact Marion Senior Services to enroll in this food delivery program.

Senior Companion Program

1101 SW 20th Ct., Ocala

(352) 620-3501 /

The Senior Companion Program helps seniors maintain their independence as they age. Their volunteer companions can help seniors when family members are unable to. Volunteer companions can offer transport to important medical appointments, grocery shopping assistance or even help around the house.

Marion Transit Services

1101 SW 20th Ct., Ocala / (352) 620-3071

As a subsidiary of Marion Senior Services, Marion Transit Services can assist seniors with their transportation needs. Their buses service disabled and disadvantaged citizens of Marion County, including seniors who can no longer drive. The buses can even travel to the rural areas of the county upon request. They maintain a fleet of regular and wheelchair-lift equipped vans to fulfill the needs of any senior citizen.

Posted in Marion Features

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