It’s a long way from the Eastern Sea-board to Hawthorne, but Mike James, Care and Share Director made an easy transition. “I’m from Boston and moved out here in 2005 and found myself working for Senior Services 2008. I’ve been here since,” James said.
James started the senior advocate in July of 2008. He did the job until 2013. At that point he took a brief sabbatical and returned as director in May of 2013.
James fields a number of duties in his position. It takes a while to list them all: “My primary responsibility is overseeing the administration of senior services. I do grant management, make sure our clients are taken care of and making sure our clients get connected with services,” James said.
He also said because Hawthorne is a small community and cannot provide all the services seniors need, he and his staff look for alternative ways for seniors to get services they need – even if another county provides them.
Other duties include administering the Meals-on-Wheels program, supervising meals served inside the Care and Share, the senior transportation program and he recently inherited Public Guardianship.
“Public Guardianship is when the courts and a physician determine that someone is incapable of handling their financial and personal affairs, and the court appoints them a guardian,” James explained. If no relative or friend is capable of or volunteers for guardianship, the task falls to the State.
“We have 11 wards right now. It’s a very serious and time-consuming job. We’ve really done a good job of taking the bull by the horns and getting things up to speed in the last year.,” James said.
At the moment, James supervises about a dozen employees and he loves what he’s doing. “Helping people has always interested me. Helping people who need assistance and finding assistance for those people is where it’s at for me,” James said.