What are the keys to aging well? Many people would say exercise, good nutrition, or preventative screenings. Others might say travel, lifelong learning or opportunities to stay active and engaged in the community and with friends. In fact there are many keys, and today’s senior centers hold those keys that allow older adults in their community to age well.
September is National Senior Center Month. This year’s theme - Senior Centers: The Key to Aging Well – recognizes the role senior centers play in allowing older adults to continue growing, learning, giving and connecting in their community. Davie County Senior Services has provided a vibrant, active senior center in Davie County for 35 years. In addition they provide vital services to help the seniors in our county who might need a hand.
Last fiscal year Senior Services served 2,874 different people in a variety of ways (that is 1 out of every 4 older adults in our county), with 93,548 total visits or units of service. Below, you will find highlights of their programs, additional statistics of people served, facts about the Davie County Aging Plan and the value of volunteers at Senior Services.
Senior Center Activities
Senior Services offers a multitude of programs and activities to keep the older adults in our county healthy, active and engaged. Certified by the State as a “Senior Center of Excellence”, their diverse offerings include exercise classes, Senior Games, arts programs, social events, day trips, educational seminars, computer instruction, and much more. In detail for the 2018-2019 year, there were 29,687 visits for senior center activities. Of those visits 1,808 were made for Senior Games, 10,445 visits were for organized exercise classes, 5,058 visits were made to the fitness room and 1,870 drop in visits were made to the computer lab. In addition 218 new membership forms were submitted.
The Family Caregiver Support Program is one of the valuable services Senior Services provides. In the 2018-2019 year, 43 caregivers were helped and 2,006 units of service were provided. This is up 89% since the previous year. This program provides support to those who are caring for elderly parents and family members. It is an invaluable program that has made a difference for many in the community.
A second service is the Information and Assistance program. This provides a central access point where people can call with questions or concerns and be met with a supportive staff that cares about the individual. Thoughtful, personalized and intentional information is clearly communicated to make hard or confusing times easier to navigate. In the 2018-2019 year, there were 3,497 information and assistance contacts made to 594 identified unduplicated clients. In addition 2,567 anonymous clients were served.
Many in the community are familiar with the name “Meals on Wheels”, however, few are aware of the impact that this program, provided by Davie County Senior Services makes. In the 2018-2019 year, 33,717 “Meals on Wheels” meals were served to 265 clients by 198 volunteers. Furthermore, the Congregate Lunch program, which provides meals to seniors on-site, served 12,766 meals to 174 clients.
Davie County is proud of the phenomenal impact that Senior Services has on individuals in the community. The leadership at Senior Services is a group of forward thinkers who believe in constantly improving and working toward higher goals. This is the reasoning behind the creation of the 2019-2024 Aging Plan. This plan, created after a series of focus groups, surveys, intentional discussion and research, serves as the framework for the future of aging in Davie County.
The five focus areas of the 5 year aging plan are communication strategy, health for the aging population, transportation, housing and financial well-being. Within these focus areas are goals and strategies to help increase awareness of resources, programs and tools for a well-rounded life, continue research to ensure the best services are provided, begin to anticipate the future needs of people in the community, and continue to provide opportunities for seniors to be involved in the community.
The Davie County Aging Plan is meant to be a living document - workgroups will meet on a quarterly basis during the first year, or as needed, in order to discuss the goals, evaluate progress and revise whenever necessary.
It is only possible that Davie County Senior Services is able to carry out these exceptional programs and services because of volunteers who selflessly give their time and energy. During the 2018-2019 year, 530 volunteers logged 11,242 hours. The value of these volunteer hours cannot be overstated as they totaled to $285,884 based on the national average of $25.43 per hour.
In April of 2018, Senior Services joined with several other departments in our county to create a consolidated Health and Human Services Department. Since then, under the leadership of Suzanne Wright, Health and Human Services Director, this consolidated department has been working together with a common vision to more efficiently and effectively serve the citizens of Davie County.
Kim Shuskey serves as the Aging & Adult Services Director and can be reached at email@example.com for more information or questions about Davie County Senior Services.