The Hancock County Agency on Aging (HCAOA), also known as the “Senior Center” has been in operation since 1970. It was incorporated as a non-profit organization in October of 1970 by a group of concerned citizens who wanted to support independence for Hancock County seniors in the areas of general welfare, well-being, housing, health and nutrition.
In 2002, the voters of Hancock County voted to expand Agency services by passing the first Senior Services Levy. Perhaps one of the best examples of the great need and the impact of the Levy was our Chore Services program which saw a dramatic 631% increase in service hours in the first year of levy funding. The Levy also enabled the Agency to completely withdraw from United Way funding beginning in 2005, freeing up resources for other worthy United Way programs in our community. In 2007 the voters once again resoundingly voiced their support of our work to help area seniors by approving the continuation of the Levy by a nearly 60% affirmative vote.
In 2005, under the authority of the Hancock County Probate Court, we established the Volunteer Guardianship Program to recruit, screen, train and support volunteers willing to be appointed as guardians for individuals unable to manage their own living and health concerns. This was also the year that we brought the preparation of Mobile Meals in-house. Prior to then, the meals were prepared off-site which limited the number of seniors we could serve with this program.
Lunchtime at The Senior Center made a dramatic leap when we began our own senior café program in January of 2007. Up until this time, The Senior Center simply served as the dining room for a federally funded nutrition program coordinated by PSA-3 out of Lima. Under this program, food was prepared off-site and trucked over an hour to be served in our dining room by employees for the food contractor. An average of only 10-20 people took advantage of this program. Once our Senior Café program was established, attendance at lunch sky-rocketed and we now serve an average of 80-100 people per day and it’s not unusual for that number to surpass 200 for special occasions.
The Senior Café attendance explosion had a huge impact on demand for our services. As a result of dining with us, more seniors became aware of our others services, resulting in an increase for all of our services of nearly 35% by the end of the Café’s first year.
Driven by the growing senior population, the Senior Service Levy and the popularity of The Senior Café, the demands of The Senior Center and the Agency outgrew the 6,000 square foot capacity of the Trenton Avenue property. In early 2009, after more than 30 years on at its Trenton Avenue location, The Senior Center and the administrative offices for the Hancock County Agency on Aging moved into its present home located at 339 E. Melrose Avenue in Findlay. The move came as the result of a wonderful opportunity which presented itself late in 2008. The local AmVets , who were seeking to downsize, negotiated with the Agency to effect an exchange of properties (and cash to offset the difference in property values). As the year ended, an agreement was reached demonstrating to the community our dedication to fiscal responsibility and ushering in a promising future for both organizations.
On the main level, our large west hall serves as our Senior Café dining room and is also available as a community meeting space and rental hall during non-café times. The multi-purpose activity room located on the building’s east side is home to our game area which features two billiards tables, air hockey and big screen Wii, as well as areas for socialization, card clubs, meetings, wellness services, our computer lab and a variety of other activities. Our kitchen and ample restrooms occupy the remainder of our first floor.
The lower level contains our professional office suite, a multi-purpose meeting room and our fitness center. We are very excited about the many fitness and wellness collaborations we are developing with other organizations. The Hancock Leadership Class of 2009 made the fitness center a reality by adopting it as their class project—Thank You!
If you haven’t done so already, please stop by and visit us at our new home. We would love the opportunity to give you a tour, show you the architectural renderings for our future renovations and answer any questions you may have about our services and our plans for the future. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to call us at 419-423-8496 or to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.