PRESTONSBURG – The Prestonsburg Senior Citizens Center, located at 76 Patsy Evans Drive, is more than just a center. It is the social hub for seniors in Prestonsburg, offering seniors opportunities for exercise, socialization, education and a balanced meal. For some seniors unable to leave their homes, the Meals on Wheels Program is a lifeline, delivering a nutritionally balanced meal to those who qualify. Currently, the Prestonsburg Senior Citizens Center is raising funds for the food program through a variety of ways.
“To qualify for Meals on Wheels, seniors must reside alone, with no caregiver to cook meals,” said Prestonsburg Senior Citizens Center Director Al Gunter Jr. “Five days a week, workers and volunteers begin preparing meals between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.. Many of our seniors will save portions from weekly meals to ensure they have something good to eat through the weekend.”
Senior citizens centers are a service provided by the Department for Aging and Independent Living. The department provides resources for a demographic group that often get overlooked or ignored. Statistics say one in six seniors struggles with hunger.
The senior population in Kentucky is roughly over 834,000 or 19 percent of the state’s population. Kentucky seniors isolated and living alone account for over 220,000 or 25.50 percent. The number of seniors living in or near poverty in Kentucky is over 305,000 or 35 percent. The numbers prove senior citizens are individuals in need of assistance.
Meals on Wheels allows seniors to remain living at home longer and makes them feel more secure in their ability to take care of themselves without becoming a burden to their families. Seniors who remain at home, out of hospitals and nursing homes, save billions in healthcare costs.
“Our drivers that deliver the meals are often the only outside contact a senior may have for several days, especially if they don’t have a large or extended family,” said Christina Reed, Prestonsburg Senior Citizens Center Assistant Director. “We have knocked on a door several different times to determine if a senior is in distress and we call 911. The program not only provides a healthy meal, but also much-needed social interaction, and daily check-ups five days a week.”
Currently, Meals on Wheels is serving 65 meals daily in Prestonsburg.
The Prestonsburg Senior Citizens Center is open Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. each day. A senior living in Prestonsburg who would like more information about the center or Meals on Wheels can call (606) 886-6855 or email [email protected]. To find out about senior citizens centers in Floyd County, call Floyd County Judge-Executive Ben Hale’s office at (606) 886-9193.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.