El Dorado Springs Senior Center provides hope in the Ozarks
Every week day, seniors come through the doors of El Dorado Springs Senior Center to enjoy a hot meal, catch up with friends and play games.
The center offers a wide range of programs and activities for older adults. These include educational services, nutritional assistance, recreational activities, in-home services and family caregiver support. When it comes to food assistance, the center offers meals on-site and delivers food to people who are homebound through the Home Delivered Meals (HDM) program.
Toni Sabol, center coordinator, believes that food assistance is the most important service the facility offers.
“We are able to provide nutritious, healthy, and tasteful meals, companionship and socialization,” she said. “The homebound especially benefit because, too often, this particular group does not have the opportunity to see or speak with anyone. At the very least, our HDM drivers, who are delivering meals to this group, take a few minutes to say hello and ask how the person is.”
The El Dorado Springs location is one of 22 centers operating under Care Connection, a non-profit Area Agency on Aging (AAA) facility. Ozarks Food Harvest delivers food to the facility on a regular basis.
The center employees one fulltime cook, one part-time cook and two volunteers that prepare meals for the people visiting the center and for the HDM program.
“A typical day in our kitchen is absolutely amazing! Somehow, those few individuals manage to complete all tasks, and make sure all delivery drivers (who are also volunteers) have their respective prepared meals for their particular routes and homebound,” she expressed.
According to Toni, most of the people served by the senior center are at least sixty years old, widowed and retired. They visit the center for socialization and companionship, and they enjoy the meals and games provided each day.
Toni, her staff members and her volunteers care deeply about the people they serve. She shared a story of a senior who uses the HDM program:
“Every day I see yet another person being positively impacted by our center. For example, one homebound individual was at the end of her rope, frantic and hysterical, and called to cancel her HDMs. We immediately went to her home to check on her. She was in a fragile state, feeling very alone in the world, and truly believed no one cared. She was amazed that we had taken the initiative to check on her, and the fact that we were so concerned. We also gave her a gentle reminder to take her medication, which she had forgotten to take the previous night, and that morning. Then we put her in touch with our Care Manager, who is now working to see if the lady qualifies for various support programs we and the state provide.”
El Dorado Springs Senior Center provides vital services for seniors that might not have anywhere else to turn when times get tough. We’re incredibly grateful for Toni and for how Toni and her team are caring for seniors in southwest Missouri!