New food program for seniors in Hamilton

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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The Council on Aging has opened two new congregate meal programs in Hamilton.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

With the largest senior population in Butler County, Hamilton once again has congregate meal locations where older residents can get a good, free meal and socialize.

The Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio started programs at the Booker T. Washington Community Center and the Belle Tower Senior Apartments in Lindenwald this summer. They realized Hamilton, with 8,219 residents who are 65 years or older hadn’t had a program since the Ross Avenue senior center closed in January.

Randy Quisenberry, COA’s manager of procurement and provider services, said they needed to rectify the situation. So they hooked up with Central Connections in Middletown to make the meals and began serving.

“Congregate meals play an important role in helping older adults get the nutrition they need to live healthy lives, while also providing an opportunity to socialize with friends and neighbors,” Quisenberry said “Considering the size of the older adult population in Hamilton, we knew there was an unmet need and set out to make it right.”

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He said there are seeing these programs — funded through the Older Americans Act — benefit the elderly in a number of ways. He said their medications work better on a full stomach and mentally because they are getting out of the isolation of their homes and interact with their peers.

Mary Griffin, 72 and Penny Sutton, 74, members of the newly formed “Hamilton Heart and Soul” senior group were two of about 20 seniors who come to the community center on Tuesdays for line dancing and the meal. Sutton said their group does pot luck dinners, adopt a family at Christmas, collect blankets and coats for the homeless, a lot of charity work.

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The Council on Aging is helping meet the nutritional and social needs of Butler County senior citizens through two new congregate meal sites at the Booker T. Washington Community Center and Belle Tower Senior Apartments in Hamilton.

The Council on Aging is helping meet the nutritional and social needs of Butler County senior citizens through two new congregate meal sites at the Booker T. Washington Community Center and Belle Tower Senior Apartments in Hamilton.

Combined ShapeCaption
The Council on Aging is helping meet the nutritional and social needs of Butler County senior citizens through two new congregate meal sites at the Booker T. Washington Community Center and Belle Tower Senior Apartments in Hamilton.

“We continue to socialize, it’s very good,” Sutton said. “I think that’s the best thing for the elderly, to get out and about and mingle with people.”

There is also a meal after the senior art class on Thursday. Seniors age 60 and older don’t need to dance or paint to participate in the noon meal but they do need to make a reservation by calling 513-785-2451. The meals being served at Bell Tower are only for residents of the complex. Quisenberry said they have fed 70 to 90 seniors there.

Since they started serving there Hope Huxel, the building’s service coordinator, said she has witnessed positive results. Huxel said the residents have no money or transportation so their only meals were basically chips, candy and snack cakes from Circle K, before the five-day lunch program started.

“I had residents that were so frail because there really was nothing they ate but snacks. One has now put on at least 20 pounds and said he has never felt better,” she said. “There also is something about eating that brings people together I had people that never left their apartment that now never miss a meal.”

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