Assistance Program Offers Range of Help, Services to Improve Quality of Life for GRIC Elders

Emma Hughes

Gila River Indian News


The Elderly Services Program (ESP) assists and advocates for elders in the Community, offering programs and services. Located at the old Council Ke in Sacaton, ESP houses a team of staff members to assist elders with their needs.  


“We’re here if you need anything, even just to talk,” says Lindsay Antone, District 1, Elderly Services Program Coordinator. Antone has previously worked with Gila River Health Care and the Employment & Training Department working with youth and adult programs.


Antone says the goal of ESP is to improve health and quality of life for elders in the Community through programs like the Homemaker program, a part-time non-medical assistance program designated for elders and adults with a qualifying health condition who live alone, assisting them with basic housekeeping assistance and giving them a chance to socialize. 


The Caregiver program, another ESP offering, assists non-paid caregivers, grandparents raising grandchildren and other Community members who care for a loved one with a physical or mental disability. The program provides resources, information and support.


ESP also offers elderly liaisons, whose role is to advocate for elders and assist them with the application process for benefits such as Social Security or any other services they may need. The liaison also can assist with power of attorney authorizations and the drafting of a will. They can also provide welfare checks. Before the pandemic, liaisons provided transportation for clients, but service is currently on hold.  


ESP also hosts the elderly concerns meeting that occurs twice a month. The meetings have been entirely virtual since the pandemic, but continue to be “a good platform to know what’s going on in the Community,” said Antone. 


GRIC Departments have been invited to participate and present more information or services to the elders during the meetings, which have been well-attended.


Antone says due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the Community there are no plans for in-person events this year. “The goal is to hopefully start having events next year,” she explained, “but at the same time that depends on where we are. Hopefully vaccination rates are much higher than what they are now.”


ESP is located in at 40031 E. Pima Street, in Sacaton. Their office is located next to the Akimel O’odham/Pee Posh Youth Council office. For more information, contact the office at (520) 562-5253.