Editor’s Note: This continues our Celebrate Community series on nonprofit organizations that improve North Okaloosa County residents’ quality of life.
CRESTVIEW — The Walton Okaloosa Council on Aging has a new senior center in Crestview, and an open house is scheduled to celebrate the occasion.
For area residents age 60 and up, and their caregivers, the open house is 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 22 at 292 Oakdale Ave. W, Crestview.
Council services are provided at nine centers in Okaloosa and Walton counties. The nonprofit's program's funding comes from the Florida Department of Elder Affairs through the Northwest Florida Area Agency on Aging, according to Council Director Kay Brady.
"We have 250 clients in Okaloosa County. Some of them get services daily, some of them get services a couple of times a week," Brady said.
The council provides activities such as bingo and trivia, and serves meals Monday through Friday in Crestview.
"We can also provide transportation, so we bring people in from Baker, we bring people in from Crestview, and some of the ones up in Laurel Hill, because Paxton is closer, they just go over to the Paxton one," she said.
"The main benefit of that service is this: They get out of their homes, they socialize. They have a hot meal that they don't have to cook. They have input on their menus and have some say in what they would like on their menus, but it mainly gets them out and gets them socializing," Brady said.
Having that say in center meals gives seniors more flexibility and more input.
"One of our caregiver programs allows the individual to get reimbursed and use it where they need. Whereas if they use a vendor, they have schedules, but we have one caregiver program that they hire their own people, so if they need to go out on a date Saturday night with their husband, they can have someone come in."
Additional council programs include Meals on Wheels; housekeeping; personal care; respite; and companionship.
Brady said the respite program provides personnel who keep an eye on an elderly loved one while their caregiver handles things like grocery shopping, doctor's appointments and other personal needs.
"We also have a grandparent program where we can help grandparents with some of the cost for things such as babysitting (and0 after-school childcare" when that grandparent is named a guardian for children, Brady said.The Boys and Girls Club let the council use their space, on days they weren't using it, to serve meals and have socializing activities during the day. The building was sold, and with the opening of the permanent Oakdale site, council staff members hope to increase the number of people they can help.
Call 423-7320, 892-8165, or the Area Agency on Aging Resource Center at 866-531-8011, or visit www.wocoa.net for more information on the nonprofit.