What are the needs of Ray County senior citizens?

The Ray County Senior Services Board is asking seniors over age 60 to participate in a survey to help them allocate money to areas in most need. The board has received over 200 completed surveys and would like more seniors to participate in the needs assessment.
The survey is in today’s Daily News on page 8. Deadline is Wednesday, April 15.
The senior services board was approved by county voters in February 2008 with a 5 cent per $100 evaluation on property taxes. The board’s mission is to provide programs to improve the health, nutrition and well being of citizens over the age of 60.
Currently, the senior service board has collected $121,000 to be dispersed to agencies or groups that help senior citizens. Original projections were $130,000 annually; however, the economy has slowed down tax revenues.
“The whole idea [of the senior services board] is to help keep people in their homes,” said Chairwoman Jane D. Bartlett. Nearly 80 percent of Ray County seniors own and live in their home, according to the 2008 Missouri Senior Report.
The seven-member board has met since September 2008 creating their bylaws, policies and procedures of operation. They are now ready to disperse funds. Agencies that provide senior services can now apply for funding, according to Bartlett. Requests for proposals are due to the senior service board by 4:30 p.m., April 30. Interested parties may contact Bartlett at 816-217-3596. Examples of agency programs are Meals on Wheels, adult daycare, housekeeping services, transportation and exercise programs.
Ray County seniors, comprising 12.8 percent of the total county population, are behind the state average in receiving some health services, such as flu shots and mammographies. Ray County also has twice the rate of diabetes at 14.3 percent than the rest of the state. On average, Ray Countians over age 75 live on less than $20,000 a year, according to the Missouri Senior Report. Bartlett said the board will strive to be judicious in the dispersement of funds.
“Look at what we need; we need a great deal,” she said. “I’m afraid there’s far more need than what we can serve. Agencies have to make good use of it.”

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