SeniorAge Bolivar Makes Sure Seniors Stay Connected

SeniorAge Bolivar Makes Sure Seniors Stay Connected

October 17, 2023 in Agency Spotlight

An important part of aging is staying connected – to people and resources – but for older adults, staying connected is more difficult. If you’re a senior in the Bolivar area, SeniorAge Bolivar is ready to connect you to the food and services you need to thrive at the Polk County Senior Center.

SeniorAge Bolivar partners with the Polk County Senior Center to provide health and wellness resources such as care coordination, pop-up clinics and check-ins with homebound seniors. Tina Zeagler, center lead for SeniorAge Bolivar, says many elderly don’t know where to start when they need help, and sometimes, they’re not even sure what to ask for.

She describes one gentleman recently helped by SeniorAge Bolivar who was living in a camper with no electricity or water. He was close to being homeless, and his health was deteriorating because of his living situation. Feeling lonely, the man came to the senior center for some company and a hot meal.

“He came in broken and didn’t know where to go for help,” recalls Tina. “I could just see the depression over this person, and I told him I thought he should talk to someone.” SeniorAge Bolivar was able to connect the man to an agency that day who helped him get a caseworker, mental health support, medications and a lead on an apartment. “Sixty days later, he came back into the senior center smiley and bubbly,” Tina says.

Seniors greatly benefit from SeniorAge Bolivar’s health and wellness resources, but the most popular reason for visiting the Polk County Senior Center is human interaction. The senior center plans events like classes, line dancing, silent auctions and more to keep seniors engaged, but there’s nothing quite like a hot meal to bring people together. That’s why daily lunches, coordinated by SeniorAge Bolivar Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., are so important.

“What I see a lot is that the seniors are alone,” Tina describes. “It’s a good opportunity to get out of the house and have a hot meal with their peers.” And the benefits are twofold. While seniors enjoy lunches at the center for the good company, they’re also receiving crucial nutrients missing from many older adults’ diets. SeniorAge Bolivar coordinates the planning and preparation of these nutritious meals at the senior center as part of their wellness programming.

Ozarks Food Harvest supports the nutrition program by providing monthly deliveries of food, free of charge, to SeniorAge Bolivar. Tina explains, “A lot of our seniors are on fixed income, so if I can give them something like a box of protein bars from Ozarks Food Harvest, they’re so excited. The meat we receive is always incorporated into our lunch menu somehow, and a lot of the food goes out to homebound seniors. If we can use food from Ozarks Food Harvest versus having to buy, it gives SeniorAge more opportunity for other services.”

With growing knowledge and support for seniors’ needs, Tina believes the future of SeniorAge Bolivar is bright. The Polk County Senior Center’s presence in Bolivar is a necessary and beloved resource for the community, and SeniorAge Bolivar is committed to providing health and wellness resources so the center can continue to be a hub for local seniors. Ozarks Food Harvest is proud to help fill nutrition gaps for our neighbors in the Bolivar area.

For seniors who want to attend SeniorAge Bolivar’s lunch, but don’t have transportation, the OATS bus will bring them to the Polk County Senior Center at no cost if they say they’re coming for the nutrition program. To contact the Polk County Senior Center, call 417-326-5570.