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Meeting the Needs of Seniors in McDowell

The McDowell County Commission on Aging was established in 1973, as part of the Great Society Concept.  The agency’s purpose is to maintain and improve daily life for seniors, the disabled, and their caregivers through advocacy, education, promotion of wellness, and provision of support services.   

They provide nutritional, educational, recreational, in-home care & hygiene care, socialization, household tasks, shopping, transportation, and light cleaning assistance for eligible community members.  Last year alone, they served over 43,000 meals, provided over 50,000 miles in senior transportation, and provided in home services to almost 150+ seniors and their caregivers.  Dr. Donald Reed, Executive Director notes “We are McDowell County’s best kept secret! – many people see the meals, the transportation vehicles, and know about our centers but do not fully understand the impact of our work”.

Krista Meadows, RN is the Nursing Supervisor and she is assisted by Judy Collins, RN and Kaitlyn Jackson. The nursing department offers very specialized programs:  respite care for those caregivers taking care of seniors, who are frail; the FAIR Program provides respite care for those seniors with an Alzheimer or dementia diagnosis; and Lighthouse Program helps provide personal care to seniors without Medicaid; and then the Medicaid Personal Care program provides care to Seniors with Medicaid.  All programs provide personal care (bathing, grooming, light housekeeping, etc) skills to those who need assistance with daily living activities.  Some services do have a small cost share but they allow seniors to stay in their homes.

Shanita Evans coordinates the transportation program, with provides medical, shopping, pharmacy, and recreational transportation to those who have disability and to those who are age 60+. Any senior age 60+ in McDowell County can dine at the Welch and Bradshaw Centers during the week at noon and enjoy a nutritious, hot and home cooked meal.

Board of Director’s President Jackie Fairbanks, notes that in recent years a lot of outside agencies have come into McDowell to offer in-home senior services but with the Commission on Aging – it is different. We are the only agency that provides all the services –nutrition, transportation, in home care –  to McDowell Seniors, we are the only agency governed  by McDowell County citizens, and when you choose us for your in home care needs, you are reinvesting in McDowell County.  To sum it up, Marie Scales, also a Board Member, encourages people to come to the Centers and  ‘see how the commission on aging can help you age well in the mountains!”.