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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Council on Aging dedicated to serving BarCo seniors

Friday, August 6, 2010

Barry County Council on Aging board members and officers for 2010-2011 are pictured above along with other area senior citizens' center officials. Pictured in the front row, from left, are: Sue Beck, board member; Nadine Smith, board member; Marilyn Shepherd, board member; Thelma Hinton, board member; Melba Eakin, vice president; and Linda Parker, Cassville Senior Center administrator. Back row: Sue Horn, in-home supervisor; Ron Shook, president; Barbara Howell, board member; Lori Balmas, Monett Senior Center administrator; Richard Meyer, Southwest Missouri Office on Aging board member; and Sharon Madison, secretary. Absent from the photo are Harlan Peterson, board member; and Martha Buessing, Central Crossing Senior Center administrator.
Due to the reduction or elimination of Medicaid benefits in the last few months, more and more Barry County senior citizens are seeking assistance from the Barry County Council on Aging (BCCOA).

The BCCOA, which is also faced with state funding cuts, has responded by making it their mission to make sure no senior in the county goes hungry.

Last year, 64,200 meals were delivered in Barry County through the senior citizens centers in Cassville, Monett and Shell Knob. The Southwest Missouri Office on Aging (SWMOA) provides the food items and staff to prepare the home-delivered meals in each of the centers.

"We are fortunate to have three senior centers in addition to several church groups in Barry County that prepare and distribute meals to those seniors needing nutritional meals," said BCCOA President Ron Shook.

Volunteer drivers logged 50,437 miles delivering meals to homebound seniors. Due to the tough economic times, volunteer drivers donated back 9,894 miles to BCCOA. According to Shook, the County Council had adequate funding to reimburse drivers for the home-delivered meals program only because of the miles donated back by volunteers.

In addition to overseeing the home-delivered meals service, the BCCOA serves approximately 200 seniors each month through a variety of other programs.

The largest program provided by the County Council is homemaking services, which allows seniors to receive in-home services such as general housekeeping and laundry. Eight part-time workers are employed by the County Council to provide these services. In addition, the BCCOA has hired a supervisor who oversees the day-to-day operation of all the programs offered by the County Council.

The medical alert program is the BCCOA's second largest program. Currently, 40 seniors have had medical alert units installed.

Other services include: personal care, providing help with daily living; respite care, offering caregivers a short reprieve from their duties; and the "Good Neighbor Transportation" program, providing transportation for medical visits when needed.

Last year, the Barry County Senior Citizens' Services Tax Board agreed to contract for an additional OATS bus. Local seniors who need local transportation are encouraged to use the OATS bus whenever possible.

Shook said the BCCOA intends to continue offering all services throughout the 2010-11 fiscal year. The Senior Tax Board has appropriated $155,300 from its 2010 tax receipts to the BCCOA to fund its programs. An additional grant of $39,110 was received from SWMOA to provide home-delivered meals, homemaker services and the Good Neighbor Transportation program.

Clients themselves also contributed back to the Council during the past year. A total of $16,515 was received from seniors who benefitted from services offered by the BCCOA.

"In the coming year, we plan to advise clients on how they can make a memorial contribution or a gift through estate planning to the County Council," said Shook.

The BCCOA is governed by volunteer board members who are elected from throughout the county. Current board members include: Shook, president; Melba Eakin, vice president; Sharon Madison, secretary; and Marilyn Shepherd, Nadine Smith, Thelma Hinton, Barbara Howell, Harlan Peterson and Sue Beck, board members.

Any senior citizen in Barry County who needs assistance is welcome to contact the County Council at 417-847-2229. Information is also available through the following senior centers: Monett, 235-3285; Cassville, 417-847-4510; and Shell Knob, 417-858-6952.

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