There is a one-stop shop in your area that serves as a resource for older adults and caregivers. It has been around a long time, but many people are not familiar with this agency.

Central Oklahoma Economic Development District Area Agency on Aging (COEDD AAA) receives federal, state and local funding to assure that services are available to persons 60 years and older. COEDD AAA links older Oklahomans and their caregivers to home and community-based services in a seven county service area (Pawnee, Payne, Pottawatomie, Lincoln, Seminole, Hughes, and Okfuskee counties). There is no charge for services offered under the Older Americans Act.

COEDD AAA’s Information and Assistance Specialist is the first step to self-advocacy, linking older adults, their families, caregivers, professionals and the general public with resources and services in their communities to enable them to maintain as independent a lifestyle as possible. The I & A Specialist will assess the needs of the individual and links the caller to appropriate agencies and programs. COEDD AAA publishes a Resource Directory, available upon request, that lists services and programs for older persons in the area.

COEDD’s Outreach Solutions for Older Adults program offers trained specialists to conduct in-home needs assessments to find appropriate resources that may enhance the lives of older adults.  Resources may include nutrition, transportation, housing, financial, and many more. Chore Services helps older adults with functional, physical or mental impairment receive assistance with heavy housework, yard work or other like needs on a one time basis.

Meal programs are available in many communities for older adults. Each week, over 2,000 participants at Title III nutrition sites in the COEDD AAA service area enjoy well balanced lunches, fellowship, fun, and education programs. Transportation is available to many sites, and homebound meals are also available in certain situations. In addition, there are independent senior centers in the COEDD service area, as well as a few private agencies that run homebound meal programs.

There are a variety of health and wellness programs for older adults. EnhanceFitness, a low-cost, evidence-based group exercise program, helps older adults at all levels of fitness become more active, energized, and empowered to sustain independent lives. Currently the Shawnee Senior Center administers this program in the COEDD service area. In addition, some of the senior centers offer their own fitness programs.

Caregiver Support Services assists in-home caregivers caring for loved ones aged 60 and older who have difficulty performing activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, toileting or eating. This program also assists grandparents raising grandchildren in some cases. Qualified caregivers receive financial vouchers to hire temporary help (family members, friends or professional home companions) to give caregivers a much needed rest.  There is also a Caregiver Support Group that meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at the COEDD office.

The Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma has partnered with the Oklahoma Association of Area Agencies on Aging (O4A) to provide funding to assist persons 55 years of age or older with direct services.  O4A allocates funds to the eleven Oklahoma Area Agencies on Aging for statewide coverage. COEDD AAA utilizes the funds to assist older adults with health and safety needs that previously went unmet because of the lack of resources.

The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program advocates for the rights of residents at facilities such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities and residential care facilities. The Ombudsman acts as a liaison between residents and/or their families and facility staff. They train volunteers to visit facility residents with the specific goal of solving issues and complaints on behalf of the Ombudsman.

For answers and solutions to issues on aging, call the COEDD Information and Assistance Specialist on the statewide Senior Information Line toll free at 1-800-211-2116. Or call the office at 405-273-6410 Ext. 128 or toll free at 1-800-375-8255 Ext. 128.