The preseason rankings are out—Bama’s at 1, while Auburn’s at 9. And it matters. In the great state of Alabama, we pick sides: either donning our crimson and white, hollering, “Roll Tide!” or outfitted in orange and blue, yelling, “War Eagle!” Regardless of the in-state rivalry that spans generations—one thing remains a constant in our region: We believe in loving and respecting our friends and family—especially our special senior citizens. No matter the team you pull for, down here, we believe in pulling for each other. For helping one another out. For displaying our manners above our pigskin affinities.

But what about for those among the state’s population who need a little more assistance? What can we do to bring the assist to them? For the older population in Alabama, information, resources, and care must be taken to ensure that their golden years are just that—golden. Fortunately, the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging works to do just that through a number of resources fine-tuned specifically toward older adults as they enter that critical fourth quarter in the game of life.

Providing defense against the unknown

The Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (known as M4A) serves all communities between Blount, Chilton, Shelby, St. Clair, and Walker with a singular mission: To help all individuals access information, assistance, and resources that will empower them to self-advocate, live independently, and enjoy the highest quality of life. M4A specializes in serving older adults and individuals with disabilities. Not unlike the team of sports trainers, coaches, and staff prep the Tide’s or Tigers’ players for what’s to come with the gridiron, M4A prepares older individuals and their loved ones with all the tools necessary to best tackle the golden years with the utmost comfort.

The playbook

M4A is proud to offer a one-stop shop for easy access to programs and services through their  Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC). The various services and programs available here are:

Caregiver Support — Info, assistance, education, counseling, respite, and supplemental services for caregivers of older adults and those with disabilities (regardless of age).

Home and Community-Based Services — In-home services and care coordination to help older and disabled individuals remain in the comforts of their homes.

Insurance Counseling — Counseling, advocacy, and assistance with Medicare, Medicaid, prescription coverage, long-term care, and even Medicare fraud.

Legal Services — No cost legal assistance with simple wills, powers of attorney as well as access to public benefits, housing, and healthcare (for those 60 and above).

Nutrition — Healthy meals delivered to the homes of those older adults who are considered homebound. These meals are also provided in a congregate setting such as a senior center..

Ombudsman Services — Info and advocacy for residents of long-term care facilities and their family members/loved ones. This aspect of service protects the health, safety, welfare, and rights of residents in these facilities and is available to anyone including residents, their friends and family, and even employees of long-term care facilities.

Prescription Assistance — Help to obtain free of low-cost prescription drugs from pharmaceutical companies; navigating what can be a complex healthcare landscape and finding the best options based upon individual needs/circumstances.

Senior Employment — Paid training program for those 55 years old and older that helps strengthen and improve their skill sets to secure gainful employment.

Making the play today

If you or your loved one needs assistance or advice about making the most out of the aging process, the ADRC is just one call away! From referrals and resources to benefits counseling and general guidance and assistance, the ADRC is a single-point of entry for Alabama individuals in need of assistance.

When you call the ADRC, you are enlisting the expert coaching of a dedicated team available to bring the assist for all ages at all stages of life. When you contact this team, The ADRC consumer specialists complete a universal assessment of your individual situation and will then provide appropriate information, referrals, and resources to meet your specific needs. If you’d like more one-on-one coaching, you can also schedule an in-office appointment for a personalized assessment with friendly, knowledgeable ADRC counselors.

The greatest play you can make is to reach out to M4A’s ADRC team by calling 205-670-5770 or visiting m4a.org. Regardless of who you pull for during football season, as Alabamians, we should all be on the same side when it comes to providing the best possible care for our senior citizen MVPs, people with disabilities, and caregivers. And when you call M4A, you can request a free stadium-approved clear sports tote perfect for making it out to all the games this season! Roll Tide, War Eagle, and be sure to contact m4a.org to bring the ultimate assist to your loved ones.