Central Crossing starts making daily wellness calls

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Southwest Missouri Office on Aging brings back popular service

The Shell Knob Central Crossing Senior Center makes calls every day for a variety of reasons, but now, it will be dialing numbers for a whole different reason -- just to check on people.

In conjunction with Southwest Missouri Office on Aging, the center, and others who are catching on, is implementing a new service it calls the "daily buzz." The service is a phone call for seniors over the age of 60 who live alone.

"The purpose of this program is to ensure that older adults can maintain their sense of well being while remaining in their homes and community," said Jeff Harp, chief publicity officer for the center. "Another benefit is that it can provide social contact and emotional support, as well as a sense of security and safety for the individual."

"We try to call 10 people a day," said Sara Patterson, center administrator. "[The Southwest Missouri Office on Aging] asked if it would be something we would do here."

Patterson said she and volunteers make the calls.

"We ask how they're doing, and make sure everything is OK with them, or if there's something they need," she said. "And if so, we will try to get them to the right person. Or, if we hear that someone is not feeling good, we will give them a call and find out if they need something like some soup or a meal. You have older people who don't hear from anybody, and if we make this call and talk to them, that seems to perk up their day. Emotionally, I think it helps them because it lets them know someone cares for them, and they also know if they need something we would be willing to help them."

Patterson said since the service has been implemented in March, many have offered sincere thank yous for thinking of them after receiving a call.

"If you have a parent who's living with their kids and they are gone working all the time, it gives them a chance to hear from the outside world," 
Patterson said.

Kristina Atwood, manager for the Cassville Senior Center, said they were not aware of the calls, but would be open to making them.

"It sounds like something we'd like to look into," she said.

"It's a daily call we will do to check on someone that maybe just needs a call each day," said Cindy Bailey, regional team leader for SMOA. "Or, if someone is going out of town and wants us to check on their mom. This has been in our agency for years. Some centers are just starting it. We'll get it implemented [in Cassville] as well. It was popular several years ago and we're bringing it back. It's just a quick phone call to check on the elderly."

To learn more about the service, or to inquire for oneself, a neighbor or loved one, people may call Patterson at 417-858-6952, or Atwood at 417-847-0131.

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