Seniors offer input
By Toby Thorpe
for the SNAP
Stanly County conducted meetings in Locust and Norwood Tuesday to obtain feedback on possible expansion of service sites by Stanly County Senior Services.
“These meetings are part of a cooperative project that Central Carolina Council of Governments is working with,” said Katie Kutcher, who works in the planning division of CCCOG. “We want to assist the Senior Services Department and Stanly County Government in determining how to best meet the needs of older adults in Stanly County.”
“We are serving a lot of seniors now, but we want to reach as many as we possibly can,” added Becky Weemhoff, director of Stanly County Senior Services.
In addition to providing citizens an opportunity to speak directly with Senior Services staff, those attending were asked to complete a survey measuring demographic data, individual awareness of current services and what expanded services should include.
Currently, a volunteer-operated senior activity group exists in Locust, providing classes and social activities five days a week from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., plus a Friday night BINGO program.
“We’ve been active for two-plus years, and we are growing,” said Glen Mabry, who volunteers at the site. “But we don’t receive any county funding, and it’s tough to run the program with volunteers only.”
Ronnie Tucker of Midland is one of those volunteers.
“I teach Tai Chi here, it helps me stay active while helping others,” he said. Tucker also teaches classes at his church and for Cabarrus County Senior Services.
Anthony and Faith Nichols attended the Locust meeting and are supportive of expanded senior programming in their area.
“We would like to see more opportunities for trips and games and other senior activities in this area,” Anthony Nichols said. “It’s easier and more convenient when things are offered nearby…the
older I get, the less I want to drive.”
Socialization is an important issue for senior adults as well.
“There are seniors who are moving into the area who don’t know anyone,” said Judy Lynch, who also volunteers with the Locust site. “A center where they can come for activities gives them a good opportunity to meet others.”
“There seems to be a consensus that the distance between Albemarle to Locust and Norwood hinders us in reaching some of the seniors in those areas,” added Weemhoff.
County Manager Andy Lucas was also in attendance in Locust.
“It’s important for us to get accurate and specific numbers as to how many seniors we can reach,” Lucas said.
Seniors who are unable to attend the meetings are encouraged to complete the survey online. It is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/StanlyCoSeniorCenter and will be available through March 8.
Toby Thorpe is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News & Press.