Upton Foundation Grant Will Provide Free Hearing Aids for Low-Income Seniors

It’s one thing not to be able to hear well. It’s another to know that there are solutions for your hearing problem that are simply out of your reach, financially. Fortunately, the Frederick S. Upton Foundation is providing a grant that will get free hearing aids to eligible low-income seniors in Berrien County

It’s true, eligible low-income senior citizens in Berrien County will receive new hearing aids free of charge from a Frederick S. Upton Foundation grant to the Starkey Hearing Foundation Hear Now Mission.  Dr. Gyl Kasewurm, owner of Dr. Kasewurm’s Professional Hearing Services, will partner to fit, test, and care for hearing aids for 120 Berrien County senior citizens who meet the income criteria.

Dr. Gyl says, “We are thrilled to work with the Starkey Hearing Foundation and the Frederick S. Upton Foundation to be able to give the gift of hearing to people in need in Michigan’s Great Southwest,” and adds, “As a lifetime resident of this community, it’s a joy to provide a vehicle that will improve the lives of individuals, their families and this community.”

Carrie Vill is a Frederick S. Upton Foundation Trustee. She says, “Partnering with Dr. Kasewurm and Starkey to meet the hearing needs of seniors in Berrien County fits the Upton Foundation’s goals perfectly – team with skilled professionals to support citizens of the community we love.  Certainly better hearing is something seniors value and low-income seniors need.”

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Once a senior turns in a form and gets a hearing test and fitting, they will get their hearing aids at the “Hearing Aid Event” on June 4th.  Individuals already enrolled in certain programs supported by Area Agency on Aging automatically qualify for the free hearing aids and tests, but still need to apply. If not enrolled in the Area Agency on Aging programs, seniors must meet income guidelines to receive the hearing aids. In this case, the net annual income of $24,280 for a single household or $32,920 for a family of two qualifies seniors to receive the service.

Lynn Kellogg is CEO for the Area Agency on Aging. She says, “A person’s ability to engage with family, friends and the community at large is greatly enhanced by the ability to hear,” and notes, “So many older adults can’t afford the luxury of a comprehensive hearing exam and properly fitted hearing aids. This project is important.”

The list of senior support programs that allow you to automatically qualify is on the Berrien Community Foundation website which you can click through to below, or call BCF office at 269-983-3304 and they will mail an application. Here’s the online link:


Lisa Cripps-Downey is President of the Berrien Community Foundation. She tells us, “These community partnerships can be absolutely life changing,” and adds, “With Dr. Kasewurm so willing to give of her time and talent, and the Upton Foundation funding, then it was up to the Berrien Community Foundation and Area Agency on Aging to make sure we reach qualifying seniors who are in need of hearing aids.”

Seniors are encouraged to visit the link above to see if they are supported through a qualifying program or to download an application. Applications are accepted now for a maximum of 120 senior citizens. For questions or to have an application mailed to you, call the Berrien Community Foundation at 269-983-3304.

The Berrien Community Foundation goal is to connect community needs with resources. Working with individuals, corporations and other foundations, BCF creates endowments and other funds to support the ever-changing needs of Berrien County now and into the future. BCF’s Community Endowment and field of interest funds, and donor advised funds, have supported a wide variety of services and agencies for more than 65 years. For information on BCF or how you can create your legacy of giving, visit their website at www.BerrienCommunity.org or call BCF President Lisa Cripps-Downey at (269) 983-3304.