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Missouri Humanities helped WPSC’s dream come true

Missouri Humanities helped WPSC’s dream come true

by  Joy Hays-Pace

The West Plains Senior Center/SeniorAge received $5,000 from Missouri Humanities to publish a magazine. We published 2,500 magazines with the help of our local newspaper The Daily Quill. The magazine consists of the oral history of West Plains. From Seniors, staff, volunteers etc.

This magazine highlights the importance of SeniorAge. SeniorAge plays a key role in planning, developing, coordinating, and delivering a wide range of service and support that enables seniors to remain independent and at home.

SeniorAge is a nonprofit that serves the senior population in southwest Missouri. We provide Support for Seniors. Help for Caregivers. Independence for All. We keep seniors independent by providing guidance and essential programs and services needed as they age in place. We also embrace the challenges of aging and bring energy to the everyday. We offer our programs and services through 34 Senior Centers in 17 counties. We are a safe gathering space for seniors and offer a multitude of programs and activities that enable them to improve their overall wellbeing, socialize with others through a variety fun and educational activities, and provide opportunities for them to contribute back to their communities through volunteerism. 

In 1965 the Older Americans Act (OAA) was signed into law. In 1972 Title V was created under OAA authorizing funds for a national nutrition program for the elderly. In 1973 OAA established AAA’s (Area Agencies on Aging) and a new Title V is created, authorizing grants for multi-purpose Senior Centers. On March 4, 1974 West Plains Senior Center (WPSC) was designated by SeniorAge, in their first year as a AAA, as one of the first senior centers to offer meals, friendship and activities. A senior center board of directors was formed operating as a non – for – profit to round out the partnership.

As more programs and activities were added the WPSC was moved from its original building to a much larger facility, owned by the City of West Plains, in order to accommodate their growth and be more accessible. Some of the programs and services now offered are transportation, foot care clinics, blood pressure screenings, fitness and wellness opportunities, volunteer opportunities, sewing & quilting groups, Income Tax & Rent & Property Tax rebate filing, holiday activities, dances, the ever – popular hot lunches and Friday Bingo. The senior center board of director’s works with SeniorAge to identify what services are needed and how best to deliver them. The board of director’s add senior programs that SeniorAge cannot fund and fundraises to help support the expenses of operating the senior center. SeniorAge embraces the challenge of being “The BEST CALL for seniors and their families.”

SeniorAge pledges to encourage, coordinate and deliver community – based services that link local, public, private, voluntary and corporate services. SeniorAge has 36 senior centers in 17 counties covering 10,000 miles in Missouri. SeniorAge provides employees and direct payment of operational expenses for the centers which includes the lunch and Home Delivered Meal program and all costs associated with the delivery of the program. Seniors 60 and over qualify for services through SeniorAge based on need, not income, and have the opportunity to contribute to the cost of their services, however services are not affected by whether or not contributions are received. The community has enjoyed getting to know the West Plains Senior Center and the people from within. 

There is a collection of stories within the magazine from people of all walks of life. We also showcased local business for no cost with in the magazine. Every person who has received a copy, has enjoyed every story! This is something amazing and I could not have done it without the help of my Co-Chairwoman Catalina Pokorny. Without this grant the community would not know some of the impacts the senior center has made on people, or the local history of its founders. It is very informative and enjoyable to read. It is something that we would like to continue twice a year! 

Thank you to the Missouri Humanities for helping make this vision become a reality.

Joy Hays-Pace

Senior Center Administrator/ Activity Director of West Plains/HCBS Assessor

joy.hays@senioragemo.org

West Plains -417-256-4055 

Authors Note:

I have worked for SeniorAge/West Plains Senior Center for almost 3 years, however I worked in LTC for almost 10 prior to this position. I love Seniors and enjoy helping them with all their needs. Having someone come into my center and say “you have made my day with just your smile” warms my heart. The stories I have heard about their life and their lives in West Plains is amazing. I am never too old to learn, and the Seniors that come into the Center have taught me so much. Also, would like to thank everyone who has helped with this publication and MH, I hope to publish many more! –Joy Hays-Pace