DuPage SeniorCitizens Council—Helping seniors live healthy and independent lives

October 2013 View more


Photo by Robyn Sheldon

As the population ages, many people in our community find it increasingly difficult to live independent lives. Simple things, like shopping and maintaining a home can become difficult, especially for those living alone with no family nearby. Marylin Krolak, executive director of DuPage Senior Citizens Council (DSCC), makes it her mission to help area seniors continue living independently and with dignity.

A Helping Hand

DSCC provides both in-home and community programs designed to help seniors with nutritional and home maintenance needs. “Eighty percent of those we serve are the neediest of the needy, living 150 percent below the poverty line,” Krolak explains. Annually, DSCC assists more than 4,000 seniors, provides 250,000 meals, conducts 210,000 well-being checks and helps 1,000 seniors with yard services.
DSCC began in 1975 as a senior advocacy group. “We have always been a volunteer-based organization where people have served those less fortunate than themselves,” Krolak explains. In the mid-1980s the group became the designated provider for the area’s Meals on Wheels program. Through this program, volunteers deliver nutritious meals daily to home-bound seniors unable to shop or cook for themselves.

For more independent seniors, DSCC offers community dining programs at nine locations throughout DuPage County including the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center in Naperville. These dining centers offer healthy meals and give seniors a chance to socialize and hear monthly wellness presentations.
When Meals on Wheels volunteers noticed that clients also needed help with their homes, the Minor Home Repair and Chore Days programs were born. Seniors can contact DSCC for help with minor home repairs at a low hourly rate. If a job is too big, seniors can get referrals for pre-screened plumbers, electricians, and other professionals. DSCC also designates the first three weekends in May and November as Chore Days. During this time, community volunteers help seniors with general yard work and outdoor clean up.

In conjunction with its meal delivery program, DSCC provides daily well-being checks and emergency follow-up services. When a volunteer delivers a meal or assists a senior, the volunteer makes note of their mental and physical health and their surroundings. If something is different than the last visit, they make note of the situation or notify the family. If a senior is expected to be home and does not answer the door, the volunteer contacts family or works with the local municipality to locate them. Krolak assures, “When we go home each day, every senior in our care is accounted for.”

Making an impact

Krolak has been with DSCC for 17 years. “I was looking for something interesting and challenging – a place where I could make an impact and improve things.” Initially, she was hired to help computerize the organization. “I thought I’d be here two years and move on.” Her diverse background in the restaurant, corporate, and governmental industries, enabled her to seamlessly take on different roles in the organization. Five years ago she accepted the role as executive director. “My parents were older when I was born and died while I was in my 30s. They always taught me to be respectful to my elders. I took on this job as a testimony to them.” Krolak is the mother of two adult children and three grandchildren. “I’m proud to have bumped into DSCC 17 years ago. It’s been such a wonderful experience. There is nothing like seeing a smile on a senior’s face. You know you are helping them truly enjoy the last years of their life.”


DSCC Annual Fundraisers

  • Dancing for Seniors Gala: Held on the Saturday before Mothers Day.
  • Aging Gracefully Wine and Beer Tasting and Auction: Held on the Friday before Thanksgiving.

* For more information or to volunteer, visit here.