A highlight for the stability of programs for Meigs County’s senior citizens came with passage of a one mill replacement and an additional .1 mill levy last year. While the additional levy funds did not benefit the agency last year, the increase in funding will improve the financial stability beginning this year, said Shaver.
The dedication of staff members and volunteers in fund raising projects and the contributions from individuals and businesses all contributed to the success of the program last year, according to director.
“Our staff has demonstrated their willingness to assure that the agency continues to meet our mission,” she added. “They gave an extra 1,125 hours to see that our fundraising was a success.” She commended the Board of Trustees and volunteers who also pitched in to help raise the extra dollars needed to keep the Center from ending the year with a deficit.
An increased number of residents participated in services in 2008 and Shaver expects that number to increase again this year as the population ages and the programs expand.
Nutrition for the elderly is an important part of the role of the Council on Aging. Last year, according to the annual report, 15,585 meals were delivered to seniors who are homebound, while there was 7,218 meals served at the Center.
As for transportation service provided with three vans running five days a week, to pick up people who want to come to the Center, and to take seniors to medical appointments, shopping and other necessary errands, there were 2,934 transportation trips for 85 unduplicated riders last year.
Supportive services offered include tax preparation, insurance assistance, bill paying and referral to appropriate agencies for assistance. Home care services including homemaker, personal care and respite care were among the other programs offered, along with activities through the Retired Senior Volunteer Program where 149 elderly residents participated in a variety of community activities of an educational and service nature.
Wellness services is a growing feature of the Senior Center which last year expanded into new space, with more added this year. The emphasis of the Wellness Center is on an active lifestyle regardless of age. The Center not only includes a variety of exercise equipment, but also extends into exercise classes, water aerobics, and hikes.
“While several grant programs we benefited from in recent years were not renewed this year, volunteer efforts and community support, saw us through,” said Shaver. “Last year was a difficult year but our community support, our fundraising efforts and new collaborative relationships were formed that will serve us well in the coming years,” she concluded.
This week, March 29-April 4, has been proclaimed as Ohio Senior Center Week, by Governor Ted Strickland. The week has been set aside to honor the important role which senior centers, their staff and volunteers do to enrich lives and strengthen communities.
The observance also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Ohio Department of Aging that supports and enhances the ability of Ohio’s senior center network to effectively serve older adults.
“Senior centers offer services that help their members maintain independence, while also providing opportunities for them to interact with each other and contribute to their communities,” said Strickland, in the proclamation. “From meals and socialization, to trips, volunteer efforts and educational opportunities, our senior centers provide the elderly along with baby boomers, and others with meaningful and valuable activities.”