Consumers Energy Employee honored for helping senior and her family in time of need

Friday, May 19, 2017

LANSING, Mich. – Consumers Energy employee Heather Clifford was celebrated today by the Commission on Services to the Aging (CSA) and state officials for recognizing that an older adult was in desperate need of help, and for taking action to ensure her and her family were connected to aging and other social services through the company’s Gatekeeper program.

For Clifford’s efforts, she was awarded Gatekeeper of the Year by the Aging & Adult Services Agency (AASA) within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the CSA.

Clifford’s intervention began after she spoke to an 82-year-old customer who was having trouble paying her bills and who needed help caring for her daughter and granddaughter. Clifford recognized the customer and her family needed help, and with her permission, made a gatekeeper referral. This led to the customer receiving utility assistance, prescription drug assistance, home repairs and legal assistance. The gatekeeper intervention provided the customer and her family with the support they needed to continue to live independently at home.

The Gatekeeper program provides information to employees of Consumers Energy to help them recognize and refer at-risk older adults and people with disabilities to the local area agency on aging.  Each month a Gatekeeper of the Month is named and from that group a Gatekeeper of the Year is selected by AASA and the CSA.

The Gatekeeper program is made possible through a partnership between Michigan’s aging network and Consumers Energy. Since 1987, Consumers Energy employees have referred more than 6,000 older adults to much-needed services through the Gatekeeper program.