The St. Louis community provides a variety of practical, educational and social resources for seniors, but many older adults may not be aware of the opportunities. Learn how what these local organizations have to offer.
For 30 years, OASIS has focused on offering a three-fold approach to successful aging, says education program manager Allison Woodworth. “We really believe if you live a healthy lifestyle, keep learning new things and get engaged with the community, you’ll be a happier person. We want to keep seniors active, contributing and socializing.”
To that end, the nonprofit organization offers a variety of opportunities for people 50 years old and up, ranging from exercise and wellness programs, educational classes covering topics like nature and science, computer technology and writing, to volunteer outlets such as inter-generational tutoring. “These are people who have a lot of skills and talent left to give, and it's an opportunity to do something positive for themselves and the community,” Woodworth explains.
One of the more popular ongoing programs is the music classes, held weekly at Crown Center for Senior Living in Ladue. Led by instructors who also are older than 50, the program offers four different groups: intermediate concert band, jazz ensemble, small wind ensemble and swing ensemble for pitched percussion. The bands also play gigs in the community and perform two annual concerts for OASIS members. With all skill levels welcome, the program epitomizes the efforts of OASIS, Woodworth says. “It’s been shown that playing music is a wonderful way to retain your skills and keep your brain and body active. You have the camaraderie of your bandmates, while challenging yourself to learn something new—it’s something to look forward to every week.”
Class fees vary for each program. For more information, call 539-4556 or visit oasisnet.org/stlouis.
Jewish Community Center
Access to healthy, kosher meals can be a challenge for the elderly. Luckily, Kitchen J at the Jewish Community Center provides a solution with its home-delivered meals and dinners at Covenant House Senior Center. “Seniors recognize and appreciate the access to these meals that may be almost impossible for them to obtain elsewhere,” says Kitchen J supervisor Linda Korn.
Both programs, organized and run by Kitchen J staff, are sponsored by the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging. The home-delivery program provides hot kosher meals every afternoon Monday through Friday, as well as a weekend frozen meal option, to seniors who meet certain qualifications, specifically the inability to access or prepare their own meals. There is a suggested donation of $4 per meal, and the home delivery covers three ZIP codes surrounding the community center: 63146, 63141 and 63132.
For more mobile seniors, or those who do not qualify for home delivery, the Covenant House meals offer a popular alternative. For approximately 39 years, dinner has been served Monday through Friday at 5 p.m., with a Shabbat dinner on Fridays. The community meal site is open to anyone who is 60 years of age or older, and Kitchen J sees an average of 80 to 85 diners nightly. A $3.50 suggested donation provides an affordable meal that follows the dietary guidelines for seniors, as well an opportunity to spend time with peers, Korn says. “Many nights, we have programming after dinner and it gives seniors a place to come and meet their friends. The social aspect is just as important as the social one.”
For more information, call 442-3149 or visit jccstl.com.
St. Andrew’s Resources for Seniors System
Through the efforts of St. Andrew’s Resources for Seniors System, seniors can access important services wherever they call home, says president and CEO Mary Alice Ryan. “It could be at the home they’ve been living in for 50 years, at their children’s house, a senior community or even during a hospital stay. There’s a great and growing need for these home- and community-based services.”
Recently partnering with St. Luke’s Hospital, St. Andrew’s offers services in three different categories through its Senior Solutions program. Supportive services include companionship, housekeeping, meal preparation, transportation, laundry, medication reminders, bill pay and minor home repair. The realm of nursing services incorporates diabetes management, wound care, insulin shots and home safe assessments. In addition, family caregiving solutions take both the patient's and their family's needs into consideration, including care assessments, counseling, family conflict support and advocacy. “If we’re not taking care of the children, spouses or whoever is the support system, the senior is going to have more problems,” Ryan explains.
The Senior Solutions program has been in existence for more than 30 years, with services funded through self-pay, government programs or charitable donations. “The whole goal is to offer this continuum of support so seniors can stay independent wherever they call home, for as long as possible.”
For more information, call 726-0111 or visit standrews1.com.