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KC Council on Aging -- ‘focal point’ for seniors in the community

Posted: July 15, 2014 3:31 p.m.
Updated: July 16, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Seniors participated in a community yard sale at the KCCOA earlier this year.

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For more than 38 years, the Kershaw County Council on Aging (KCCOA) has provided services and programs for residents in Kershaw County aged 60 and above. These services and programs have been delivered in compliance to the Older Americans Act of 1965, the Administration of Aging, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, South Carolina Network’s Policies and Procedures, the Santee-Lynches AAA/ADRC Policies and Procedures and all associated laws and regulations.

Compliance has set the standard that guides KCCOA’s mission to support Kershaw County seniors to enjoy an enhanced quality of life, contribute to communities, have economic security and receive resources necessary to age independently with choice and dignity.

Through its programs and services, the KCCOA has, and continues to, help build a senior community that thrives. Since its creation as a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation in April 1975, the KCCOA has been focused on that vision. The original Kershaw County Council on Aging constitution states that the organization’s purpose is “to do the things that may be necessary, proper, or advantageous to promote the welfare of the Aging population of Kershaw County.”

Well established partnerships further strengthen the mission engagements. KCCOA has strong linkages with a number of county partners. Groups and agencies such as United Way of Kershaw County, the ALPHA Center, Santee-Lynches Council of Government’s Area Agency on Aging, Kershaw County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs, Kershaw County government, city of Camden, Christian Community Ministries, 2nd Look Charities, sheriff’s office, Camden police and fire Departments, Kershaw County School District, and a host of churches, civic and private groups, have made (and continue to make) significant contributions as allies in our charge to provide quality programs and services for aging Kershaw County adults.

As the case is across the United States, 60-plus population numbers in Kershaw County, continue to grow. Kershaw County Council on Aging has strategically developed plans to, strengthen its organizational effectiveness, increase services, provide increased senior socialization opportunities, and enhance resource development prospects. Fortified by an involved governing board of directors, a motivated management and staff, and a dedicated, loyal, volunteer core, KCCOA is positioning itself to expand its footprint throughout the county in an attempt to reach more seniors in rural areas.

The board of directors, management, and staff holds many, many years of experience in direct social service activity -- a large amount of which is/was adult related -- and innumerable years of experience in business management, manufacturing management, law, public service, and education. Utilization of this vast cross-section of experiences, fueled with buy-in to the KCCOA action plan and deployment of willing volunteers, advances continuous improvement of our agency and therefore better services and program outcomes.

The Kershaw County Council on Aging core values are: (a) to exhibit the highest standards of respect for those we serve, those we partner with, our community, and our team; and (b) to foster a culture that embraces change, perseverance, growth & innovation, and personal enrichment.

KCCOA has a history of successful activities and services. Throughout our 38 years, the nutritional needs of eligible seniors have been met without interruption and in compliance with the Older Americans Act, Administration on Aging, South Carolina Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging, Santee-Lynches Area Agency on Aging policies, as well as all state and local laws.

Hot meals are served at the Vitality Center in Camden, The Bethune Rural Community Center, and the Greater Faith and Joy Senior Services Center in Lugoff. Both hot and frozen home delivered meals -- the Meals On Wheels Program -- are transported from these centers to homebound seniors throughout the county by our dedicated volunteers -- a large majority of whom 60-plus years old themselves.

Our volunteers do not just “drop off” a meal at a client’s home, they monitor and “check in,” with them. Volunteers know that they may be the senior’s only socialization for the day; their only escape from isolation. Other alliances that expand KCCOA’s partnership base have been forged that assist in home delivery and client welfare. These are with the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office and the Kershaw County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs. Sherriff’s deputies are volunteering to take meals to seniors in outlying areas that KCCOA has not been able to access in times past. Board of Disabilities and Special Needs associates (under the care and supervision of their teacher) energetically delivers meals two days a week.

Social activity accompanied with a shared meal is the centerpiece of congregant site activity. Kershaw County Council on Aging has developed many partnerships with many churches, individual volunteers, organizations, and agencies to facilitate such activities as, Bible study, crafts, song and dance, nutrition training, exercise, tours, travel trips, games, and more. To name a short list of some of our partners we list: United Way of Kershaw County (seasonal gift baskets), S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC -- nutrition training, farmers market vouchers, health training), Carolyn’s Nail Salon (manicures and pedicures), Camden Police Department (safety awareness training, Christmas gift baskets), Kershaw County Sherriff’s Office (safety training, home delivered meals) and Camden High School (game facilitations, event participation).

A sizable amount of time and effort is being put into improving activity offerings at both sites. For instance -- a bridge club and a senior exercise group use our Camden Vitality Center in afternoon/evening hours when congregate activities have ended.

KCCOA staff is seeking partnerships and volunteers and developing ideas & marketing strategies to accomplish our goal of make our centers senior “Destination Sites.” We want to make then appealing multi-purpose sites that attract seniors with many varied interests and needs.

Effective Business Structure:

Kershaw County Council on Aging has proven experience providing services for seniors 60 years of age and older for more than 38 years in one more of the five program areas. As evidence of its service capabilities, KCCOA has been designated as a “focal point” for senior services in Kershaw County by Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments.

In 2013 KCCOA:

•              Served more than 11,750 hot meals from our Camden and Bethune senior centers;

•              delivered 16,437 hot meals to 118 homebound seniors;

•              delivered 9,908 frozen meals to 69 homebound seniors;

•              checked the health and well-being of 187 homebound seniors;

•              prompted 249 days of senior socialization and engagement;

•              partnered with DHEC to distribute 362 Farmers Market vouchers to eligible seniors;

•              obtained a grant from the Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging and partnered with DHEC to facilitate chronic disease management workshops -- the first workshop has 16 senior participants;

•              partnered with Medicaid -- Community Long-term Care to provide meals for26 seniors;

•              partnered with the “Dimes for Hunger” initiative of Providence Presbytery of Rock Hill to serve nutritional needs of Kershaw County seniors;

•              expanded Home Delivered Meals -- Meals On Wheels services to the Elgin area;

•              accomplished volunteer support that provides home delivered meals to nine clients in remote parts of the county; and

•              maintained and distributed a “Sitters List” identifying individuals willing to offer, sitter, housekeeping, respite and other like services to Kershaw County seniors.

There are huge opportunities for individuals and organizations to share their talents and lend their time to participate in expanding nutritional, social, and physical opportunities for Kershaw County Seniors. Kershaw County Council on Aging is continuously looking for partners to:

•              Help with Meals on Wheels at a frequency that fits their availability or desire;

•              call in-house BINGO;

•              lead board games, and similar activities;

•              facilitate crafts, music, art, etc.;

•              play/sponsor a senior athletic games or tournaments;

•              help with the newsletter;

•              chaperone trips;

•              lead exercise classes;

•              lead workshops;

•              teach health sessions, personal improvement courses or other meaningful courses;

•              lead local fishing trips;

•              help in fundraising events;

•              be a “Senior-That-Calls-A-Senior;”

•              sponsor a party; or

•              do anything that is interesting, lively, and engaging -- you know, the stuff you like!

(Story and photos provided by Bruce Little, KCCOA)


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