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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 21, 2017

Milestones closing meal centers

Oct 03, 2017

Milestones Area Agency on Aging, a nonprofit organization, supporting older Iowans and people with disabilities in a 17-county area, is closing of eight senior meal centers, reducing the number of weekly meals delivered per person and starting waiting lists for home-delivered meals.

The changes are being made because Milestones has been faced with budget constraints leading to difficult decisions being made by their board of directors and program directors.

Program areas were examined carefully to determine reductions having the least negative impact on seniors.

Actions taken to address these issues are the closing of eight senior meal centers, reduction in the number of weekly meals delivered per person and the start of waiting lists for home-delivered meals which are all funded by the Older Americans Act and participant contributions. The home-delivered meal actions will not affect seniors who receive Milestones home-delivered meals funded through Medicaid.

Congregate locations sited for closure by the end of October are: Prairie Village, Clinton; Friendly House, Davenport; Luther Tower, Davenport; Temple Baptist Church, Davenport; United Methodist Church, Donnellson; Senior Center, Keota; First Presbyterian Church, LeClaire and Calvary United Methodist Church, Walcott. The closure of low-participation sites is an attempt to become more cost effective while still serving the most seniors possible.

Pam Taylor, Milestones services director explained, “Younger seniors aren’t using the community sites, while older seniors are often asking for home-delivery. This seems to be the trend across the country whereby congregate meal centers aren’t being utilized as they had been when first established in the 1970s. Other Iowa area agencies on aging began reducing their number of meal centers in 2015. We are thankful that we are able to keep the remaining 48 meal centers and home-deliveries going, especially in rural areas where possible.”

“It is with great regret that these decisions are necessary,” Taylor said. “The senior congregate and home-delivered OAA meal programs operate with limited federal and state monies, donations, and voluntary contributions from seniors who eat the meals. Changes in funding sources, recent funding reductions and low levels of contributions effect the overall nutrition program.”

“Our focus is to keep at least one meal center open per county serving five days per week,” said Taylor. “Closing sites is never a good option.”

With these closings and the restructure of home-deliveries, Milestones will continue to sponsor 48 senior meal centers, including the one at the Fairfield Senior Citizen Center, serving nearly 2,700 seniors more than 35,000 meals monthly to anyone aged 60 and over and their spouse of any age. More than 473,590 meals were served in FY17.

Seniors affected by the closings will receive a list of other Milestones’ meal centers that are open in the county where they live, along with other meal options available to them.

Milestones continues to serve Iowa seniors, adults with disabilities and family caregivers through their core programs.

Find out more about Milestones at www.milestonesaaa.org.

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