Senior sites offer more than meals

posted Apr 11, 2016, 7:25 AM by Mary Peck

South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) area senior meal site programs offer a variety of services along with noon meals to seniors in Altus, Cheyenne, Granite, Hollis, Mangum, Mountain View, Rocky, Sayre and Weatherford.

These services are provided through the Older American Act and include a registered dietician who provides nutrition education and counseling to participants as well as supervision to ensure that at risk seniors are receiving proper nutritionally balanced meals. Meals are also provided to home-bound participants whom are not able to make it to the meal site locations because of a lack of transportation, physical or health-related issues. Emergency meals are also made available to our seniors so in the event of a natural disaster or illness, the senior will have a meal available to them in their home.

The senior meal sites is a program provided through the Older Americans Act (OAA), under the direction of two projects; Southwest Oklahoma Community Action Group (SOCAG) located in Altus and Community Action and Development Corporation (CADC) located in Sentinel as well as supervision from SWODA Aging Services and Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS).

Other communities in SWODA’s eight-county area that includes Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita counties also provide senior citizen centers that are not a part of the Older Americans Act, but that also may serve noon meals one or more days a week.

These senior meal site programs are vital to our rural seniors. In many of our small communities the lack of a supermarket, grocery store, farmers market or even convenience store makes the process of food buying a difficult task for our seniors. Many of our seniors are no longer able to drive; therefore they are dependent on the kindness of family members, neighbors, friends and church family to assist them in this task. When our seniors struggle to find this assistance that could mean that they can go without meals.

Another issue for seniors is for some, the ability to walk, prepare and cook a meal can be a difficult if not impossible task. This poses several risks for our seniors. As we age our bodies natural decline makes us more susceptible to disease and infection. Well balanced and nutritious meals help to fight off some of these issues, keeping our frail adults immune systems stronger and healthier also allowing seniors to remain in their homes and living as independent a life as possible for longer.

As you may be aware, the State of Oklahoma is experiencing multiple fiscal cutbacks that can affect our senior programs. Seniors are not turned away from a meal due to lack of ability to pay. Keeping these programs vital is important to our seniors. Tax deductible donations are accepted and greatly appreciated at all meal site locations. Donations are accepted anonymously in an effort to protect participant’s privacy.

If you would like to learn more about how to qualify and participate in our senior meals program please contact Samantha Walker, SWODA Aging Services planner at 580-562-4882, ext. 105 or email at Swalker@swoda.org