SFY 2022 Annual Report

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Council on Aging
To coordinate a system of services that promote the well-being and independence of older and disabled Georgians, helping them achieve healthy and self-sufficient lives.
For all seniors and disabled individuals in our service area to have the resources to live longer, live safer, and live well.
We prioritize the safety and well being for all. Respect We value everyone’s individuality with care and compassion. Experience We deliver quality service in a friendly and engaging atmosphere. Efficiency We maximize our resources to deliver competent, quality services. To view from a desktop visit sowegacoa.org/video-library.

Message from our Executive Director Izzie


“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie

Does it feel as if the world has changed in the last two years? That’s because it has! I cannot think of one aspect of life that has remained status quo, from business to personal. Some organizations have buckled in the face of unprecedented change – others have thrived. I am thankful to report that Sowega Council on Aging is thriving!

If SFY21 was about survival and innovation, then SFY22 was about building a stronger structure than ever, leading to great success. These building structures were necessary in light of a changing world, and I believe they will take us into the next decade and beyond. I want to take a moment to celebrate just a few.


The 2020 Pandemic resulted in a drastic decrease in SCOA employees due to the pivoting in service delivery to our clients. Our remaining staff did not falter to get things done and achieve great success in 2021/22 – but it required finetuning and intentional streamlining of more efficient practices and operational developments that reduced overhead while also providing services to more people. If I haven’t said enough, our team consists of rock stars, and each deserves a big “Well done!”


Collaboration and partnership have been the wind in our sails since 2020 and we are blessed to have increased those relationships. Thanks to minigrants, we supported more partnerships working on a local level, which allows seniors to enjoy meals and programming in their communities and can tailor programs for their unique local needs.


When many nonprofits were forced to decrease the services they offer, SCOA expanded ours. This resulted in serving more seniors in the congregate meal program, taking us from 500 participants to 1500, funding ten local activities each month in the counties with minigrants, expanding our Senior Isolation Program from 25 to 75 Claris Companion tablets with an additional 50 coming in SFY23


For the second year in a row, our agency won the AAA Excellence in Aging Award from the Aging Disability Resource Connection Summit. This is a prestigious award for Area Agencies on Aging throughout Georgia to aspire to. This award recognized innovations in programming, staffing, service delivery, assistive technology, and reaching underserved clients and was chosen from nominations made by members within the Aging Network of Georgia. In addition, SCOA was recognized for using technology in our Senior Center Without Walls program by distributing senior-friendly tablets to qualifying clients.

As well as being the two-time AAA Excellence in Innovation Award winner, SCOA received an honorable mention from the National Council on Aging for Excellence in Hybrid Programming for the Senior Center Without Walls; which was also recognized in the Aging Innovations and Achievements Award Showcase from USAging as a successful, effective, and replicable program.

In the following pages, we will celebrate all of the successes of our year – large and small. We will report the numbers, but I challenge you to remember that every number represents a person – and a specific need that was met. I hope you will join me in celebrating past successes and working hard to achieve even more successes in the future!

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About Sowega Council on Aging

Sowega Council on Aging has been a trusted nonprofit organization since 1966. We provide unbiased information, programs, and Services to 60,000 seniors age 60 and up, caregivers to those who are 60 and up, and disabled adults annually in 14 counties across southwest Georgia. We promote the independence, health, and dignity of older adults in need through compassion, education, and advocacy.

The Albany-Dougherty Council on Aging was incorporated in 1966. In 1979, to reflect the 14-county service area -a 6,000 square mile region- the name changed to Sowega (Southwest Georgia) Council on Aging. The Sowega Council on Aging operates as an Area Agency on Aging (AAA) and an Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ARDC).

With counties whose total population ranges from 4,074 - 96,065, it is easy to understand the challenges which must be met to provide services in a cost-effective but fair manner. The flexibility in developing service plans given to Area Agencies on Aging by the Division of Aging Services permits this to happen. The Sowega Council on Aging is a 501©(3) nonprofit organization.

What is an Area Agency on Aging?

Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) were formally established in the 1973 Older Americans Act (OAA) as the “on the ground” organization charged with helping vulnerable older adults live with independence and dignity in their homes and communities. An Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is a public or private nonprofit agency designated by the state to address the needs and concerns of all older and disabled persons at the regional and local levels. AAAs contract with local service providers to deliver many direct services, such as home-delivered meals, homemaker assistance, transportation, and whatever else it may take to make independent living a viable option.

An Area Agency on Aging fulfills the following roles:

• Assess community needs and develop and fund programs that respond to those needs

• Educate and provide direct assistance to consumers about available community resources for long-term services and supports

• Serve as portals to care by assessing multiple service needs, determining eligibility, authorizing or purchasing services, and monitoring the appropriateness and cost-effectiveness of services

• Custodians of the public interest demonstrate responsible fiscal stewardship by maximizing the use of public and private funding to serve as many consumers as possible

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Dougherty Calhoun Lee Terrell Worth Early Baker Miller Mitchell Colquitt Seminole Decatur Grady Thomas


Daniel Stone, Chairman Synovus | Albany, GA

Deborah Clemons, Vice Chair

PeoplesSouth Bank | Dawson, GA

Jeff Wright, Secretary

Draffin Tucker | Albany, GA

Joe Austin

Retired Phoebe Hospital | Albany, GA

Carol Boyd

Jim Boyd Construction Co. | Leesburg, GA

Tangela Campbell

Retired MolsonCoors / Albany GA

Kenneth Cutts

Congressman Sanford Bishop | Albany, GA

Stacey DeMarino

Renasant Bank | Albany, GA

Chris Kane

Phoebe Hospital | Albany GA

Melanie Kemp

Retired | Camilla, GA

Dr. Steve Kitchen

Retired Phoebe Hospital | Albany, GA

Eugene E. Sherman, Jr.

Retired Gerontologist | Albany, GA

Bo Strickland

The 45,000 square foot regional education center is the hub for Sowega Council on Aging. The administrative offices include a variety of multipurpose rooms, meeting rooms, reception space, and a ballroom that can accommodate up to 250 people in a banquet format. The facility is equipped with stateof-the-art audio-visual equipment and smart boards, making the center ideal for corporate meetings, seminars, conferences, and educational presentations. The entire facility is ADA compliant, includes two elevators and equipment for those with mobility concerns.


Chair: Gwen Houston Early County Sherry Bailey Baker County Connie Hobbs Baker County

Mack Jones Calhoun County Rita Jackson Colquitt County

John Johnson Dougherty County Janice Route Blaylock Dougherty County Gloria Bronson Dougherty County Dillard Glover Dougherty County

Secretary: Ernestine Taylor Jones Dougherty County Willie Jones Dougherty County

Vice Chair: Bobby Sanders Dougherty County George Masciarelli Decatur County

Annette Higdon Grady County

Carl Barnhardt Lee County

Ilean Bady Lee County

Cory Thomas Miller County

Frank Dinie Mitchell County

Ed Green Mitchell County Sesame Robinson Seminole County Rosa Alyce Smith Terrell County

Angela Kiminas Thomas County Lougenia Cross Worth County

Gardner, Willis, Sweat, Plaire & Pickett, LLP | Albany, GA

Sherman Willis

Gardner, Willis, Sweat, Plaire & Pickett, LLP | Albany, GA

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Lee Miller Mitchell
Calhoun Colquitt Decatur Dougherty
Seminole Terrell
701 859 6,829 3,072 13,783 1,936 4,343 3,595 1,223 3,634 2,828 1,667 8,060 3,860 56,390
A Regional Resource Center Sowega Council on Aging 335 West Society Avenue Albany, Georgia 31701 P: (229) 432-1124 T: (800) 282-6612 F: (229) 483-0995 SowegaCOA.org


Aging & Disability


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The Aging & Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) connects seniors, individuals with disabilities, family members, caregivers, and professionals with the resources and information they need.

• Serves as the no wrong door for information, resources, and services

• Provides information and assistance to individuals needing either public or private resources, to professionals seeking assistance on behalf of their clients, and to individuals planning for their future long-term care needs

• Provides easy access to information

• Offers screening for services and options counseling

• Provides resources and services that support the individual’s range of needs

• Creates a person-centered, community-based environment that promotes independence and dignity for individuals


Total calls received: 17,744 Total contacts received for information and service inquiries: 11,534 Referrals received from providers: 2,101 Referrals made into services (total clients served in HCBS services only): 664

Number of units of service provided: 374,062 MFP: 9 NHT: 7


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WELLNESS EVENT STATISTICS 07/01/2021 to 06/30/2022 Event Name Duplicated Unduplicated Active Aging Walk 14 14 Chair Fitness Friday 157 38 (Discontinued) Chair Fitness 1195 101 (Monday) Chair Fitness 733 74 (Thursday) Line Dancing 515 41 Pedaling for Parkinsons 93 6 Tai Chi for Arthritis 344 53 Tai Chi Skills Session 92 34 Total Event Signins 3143 131 Resource Fairs 260 (3 regional events offered) Virtual Classes Unduplicated Nutrition Class 10 am 3 (1x/month) Nutrition Class 11 am 10 (1x/month) Easy Trivia Avg. 12 (2x/month) Bingo Avg. 16 (2x/month) Brain Food Avg. 14 (1x/month) Wellness Wednesday Avg. 12 (1x/month) SNAP Education 10 (8 weeks) Virtual EBPs Unduplicated Tai Chi (am) Avg. 4 2 workshops offered Tai Chi (pm) Avg. 4 2 workshops offered CDSMP Avg. 4 1 workshop offered Bingocize 1 workshop offered (cancelled 1/2 through) AMP 1 workshop, 16 participants
Monthly AARP classes started back at the end
the fiscal year. We plan to continue hosting these monthly classes. Average attendance per class: 17
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Senior Center Without Walls Congregate MEAL PROGRAM

Senior Centers exist to enrich the lives of senior citizens through programs and services that improve their health and wellness, decrease loneliness and isolation, and provide social, economic, and education opportunities to enhance their quality of life. Nutritious meals are served to people age 60+. Participants enjoy activities, exercise, special events, and engaging programs. Research shows that older adults who participate in senior center programs can learn to manage and delay the onset of chronic disease and experience measurable improvements in their physical, social, spiritual, emotional, mental, and economic well-being.

Senior Centers are reinventing themselves to meet the needs and desires of the aging baby boomer generation. Boomers currently constitute 2/3 of the 50+ population. By the year 2030, 1 in 5 individuals in each community will be over 65.

Since April 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our senior center programs have been operating under a new model - Senior Center Without Walls Congregate Meal Program. The program offers the same components as a physical senior center within a community.

In SFY 2022, the Sowega Council on Aging contracted with 22 local restaurants in our 14-county area to serve lunches Monday through Friday between 11 am and 2 pm. The county of residence determines the restaurants available to the client. The senior recreational activities are offered throughout the community in locations like the library, recreation department, church, etc. Programs include exercise classes, Bingo and other games, walking clubs, nutrition education classes, devotionals, music programs, evidence-based health programs, crafts, and more. The number of individuals served in this program tripled over previous years when seniors were meeting in traditional senior center settings:

Congregate Clients served: 1,404

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Congregate Meals served: 143,816


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The Wellness Program promotes optimum nutrition and healthy lifestyle management for positive outcomes. In each of our 14 senior centers, active aging is encouraged by implementing the following five key messages: “BE ACTIVE, BE SMOKE-FREE, EAT HEALTHY, GET CHECKED, AND STAY POSITIVE.”

These messages are addressed through 4 major areas of wellness, lifestyle management, awareness and prevention, nutrition, and physical activity. Collaboration with community partners is key when providing programs and activities that focus on diet, exercise, health and chronic disease prevention and self-management. Over 1450 older adults received information in the form of a quarterly magazine along with a calendar of program offerings.

We hosted 3 regional Resource Fairs in conjunction with the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP), one in Dougherty, one in Mitchell, and one in Miller County. Participants were able to gather resources and information about programs and services from various providers in the aging network. The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program is a Federally funded program provided through the USDA for GA residents who are 60+ that meet the income requirements. Participants were issued a $30 voucher to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from approved local farmers. Awareness events were also hosted and celebrated in honor of Older American’s Month in May, National Fall Prevention Month in September, and Active Aging Week in October.

Monthly virtual classes were offered and made available through the Claris Companion tablets for those who received a tablet. These tablets are senior friendly making it easy for anyone to participate. Various topics ranging from immunizations, diabetes awareness, nutrition, falls prevention, active aging, disaster preparedness, relationships, battling the holiday blues, were introduced through monthly programming options. Clients were mailed the agency quarterly magazine with a list of virtual program options, including Easy Trivia, Virtual Bingo, Wellness Wednesday, and Brain Fitness workshops. In person activities and classes started back with the decline in COVID-19 cases. Chair Fitness, Line Dance and Tai Chi were offered and taught by SCOA volunteer instructors, seeing an increase in participation after being home for so long.

The Wellness Program also facilitates evidence-based programs throughout the region, including Living Well Workshops through Stanford’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP), A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns about Falls, Tai Chi for Arthritis, and Fall Prevention, and the Aging Mastery Program (AMP).

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Evidence-based programs (EBPs) offer proven ways to promote health and prevent disease among older adults. They are based on research and provide documented health benefits, so you can be confident they work. This year, due to COVID restrictions limiting in-person programming, we were able to facilitate the majority of these programs over a teleconference line or, virtually, via laptop, computer or tablet.


The CDSMP is appropriate for any adults experiencing chronic health conditions such as hypertension, arthritis, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, and diabetes; their family members, friends, and caregivers can also participate. This program provides information through Living Well Workshops, which teach practical skills on managing chronic health problems. The CDSMP gives people the confidence and motivation to manage the challenges of living with a chronic health condition. .

2 Telephonic workshops offered regionally serving 11 participants


Dr. Paul Lam and a team of researchers developed this evidence-based exercise program to introduce persons with arthritis or fear of falling to Tai Chi. Participants meet once or twice a week for up to one hour. This program relieves pain caused by arthritis, reduces falls, and improves quality of life.

3 In-Person workshops in Dougherty County serving 29 participants

2 Virtual workshops offered regionally, serving 10 participants. As part of a pilot program, participants were provided a tablet to provide them access to the Zoom platform.


A Matter of Balance program is appropriate for any adult experiencing concerns with falling or loss of balance. The program emphasizes practical strategies to reduce fear of falling and increase activity levels. Participants learn to view falls and fear of falling as controllable, set realistic goals to increase activity, change their environment to reduce fall risk factors, and exercise to increase strength and balance.

This program was put on hold as a virtual platform was being developed.


This four-hour evidence based workshop is paired with the comprehensive Dealing with Dementia Guide, a detailed workbook designed to help family caregivers taking care of someone with dementia. Participation in this workshop is proven to increase dementia knowledge and confidence in the caregiver’s ability to provide care.

One workshop with 17 people.

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AMP is a fun, innovative, and person-centered education program that empowers participants to embrace their gift of longevity by spending more time each day doing things that are good for themselves and others. The program encourages mastery—developing sustainable behaviors across many dimensions that lead to improved health, stronger economic security, enhanced well-being, and increased societal participation. The Aging Mastery Program® (AMP) was developed by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and has been successful at helping older adults build their playbook for aging well. Funded by Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield, our agency was named the state lead for this grant opportunity, successfully managing seven additional AAAs across the state to roll this program throughout Georgia.

Across the state of Georgia, this fiscal year, five AMP workshops were offered, serving 35 Georgians. In our region, one workshop was offered telephonically with six people graduating from the program.


The Sowega Council on Aging is a licensed partner of the Pedaling for Parkinson’s program. Before the pandemic, this exercise and support group met a minimum of twice a week, focusing on alleviating the signs or symptoms of Parkinson’s through forced pedaling. Pedaling for Parkinson’s – (midparagraph) Participants were able to start meeting in-person once a week to pedal and support each other as they dealt with the disease. They were also provided the stationary pedals to keep in their home to maintain their exercise throughout the week.

Six participants and their caretakers took part in these weekly telephonic support group sessions.


In-person Chair Fitness, Line Dance, Chair Yoga, and Tai Chi were offered and taught by SCOA volunteer instructors and Robin McCord, Wellness Manager, seeing an increase in participation after being home for so long.

Unduplicated Number of Participants served for the following classes in FY22:

• Monday Chair Fitness – 101

• Monday Line Dance – 41

• Wednesday Tai Chi – 53

• Thursday Chair Fitness – 74

• Friday Chair Yoga – 38 It’s unknown how many people may have taken part in classes offered virtually via YouTube and Facebook Live.


We had one 5 day/4 night overnight Trip with Diamond Tours, Inc. to The Ark Encounter and Creation Museum in April 2022 – 40 participants had a great time! No day trips were offered, however, will be re-introduced in FY23.


For seniors and disabled persons who cannot drive, or might not have access to transportation, or where public transportation is not available, the Sowega Council of Aging offers transportation services. These services are available for medical appointments, pharmacy visits, shopping, Adult Day Care services, community-based programs, other social service activities, and essential community resources. Specialized transportation for those using wheelchairs is available.


Scheduled: 13,824

Clients Served: 358

Subscription Riders: 127

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Home & Community

Non-Medicaid-based services are available to clients to provide the resources and assistance necessary to remain in their homes as independently as possible.

Adult Day Care | Case Management | Congregate Meals

Home Delivered Meals | Homemaker Services | Material Aid Vouchers | Respite Care


Provision of social and recreational activities to persons in need of limited personal care assistance, supervision or assistance essential for sustaining the activities of daily living.

Clients Served: 5 Service Hours: 3,493


Provision of social and recreational activities to persons in the various stages of Alzheimer’s Disease or related dementias, in need of limited personal care assistance, supervision or assistance essential for sustaining the activities of daily living.

Clients Served: 41 Service Hours: 18,691


Case management assists individuals in gaining access to needed Home and Community Based Services and other State Plan services as well as needed medical, social, educational, and other services regardless of the funding source. Case Management includes assessment, care planning, service management, monitoring, and negotiation of fees.

Clients Served: 1,451 Service Hours: 7,098


Services that offer temporary substitute supports or living arrangements for care recipients in order to provide a brief period of relief or rest for caregivers.

Clients Served: 18 Service Hours: 4,887


Meals served to Tier 2-HDM clients at their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Clients Served: 182 Service Hours: 39,455


Also known as the “Meals on Wheels” program, home-delivered meals provide a hot, nutritious meal daily to home-bound individuals. The “personal” delivery offers social interaction as well as a safety check. Clients served: 774 Meals served: 145,198


Most older people choose to stay in their own homes as long as possible. Homemaker services provide individuals with the assistance needed to remain independent. Services include meal preparation, laundry, and light housekeeping.

Clients Served: 204 Service Hours: 11,424


May Include: Options Counseling, Home modifications, Assistive Technology Devices, Incontinent supplies, nutritional supplements, over-the-counter medications, infection control products, skincare products, and more. Caregiver Material Aid Vouchers: 74

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Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

Representatives of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman are advocates for residents of nursing homes, personal care homes, and assisted living communities. They work to improve the quality of life and quality of care for residents of these long-term care facilities. Our 8 South Program Certified Ombudsman Representatives investigate and work to resolve complaints on behalf of residents. They routinely visit long-term care facilities to be accessible to residents and monitor conditions. The Ombudsman Representatives provide community education and outreach services to raise awareness and public sensitivity to elder abuse enabling individuals to identify and prevent the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults.

The Sowega Council on Aging South Program Ombudsman Representatives work with residents, long-term care facilities, Health Care Facility Regulation Division, law enforcement, and other agencies to prevent elder abuse.

Elder abuse includes physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual abuse as well as financial or material exploitation, neglect, and abandonment.


Our 8 South Certified Ombudsman Representatives cover 48 counties and a twentythousand-mile territory that includes over 825 facilities. They serve over 12,500 residents.

The number one priority of the Ombudsman Representative is complaint resolution to the satisfaction of the resident. The South Program has resolved 1,002 complaints in SFY2022.

South Program Ombudsman Representatives have provided 1,301 facility staff consultations on resident rights issues and provided 1,165 instances of information and assistance to residents, resident families, and the public.

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Serving 48 counties in South Georgia • 72 Nursing Homes • 214 Personal Care Homes • 26 Assisted Living Communities • 513 Community Living Arrangements


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The Community Transitions (CT) program, formerly known as “The Money Follows The Person” (MFP) program allows a person who currently resides in an institutional setting (nursing home, hospital, or rehab facility) for at least 60 days, and with at least one day of nursing home services paid by Medicaid during their stay, the opportunity to meet with a CT Options Counselor to discuss options for transitioning back into the community to live. An eligible person could qualify for Community Transitions Services to assist transitioning from the nursing home into the housing of their choice. Some of the CT services assist with securing housing, help with paying security deposits, purchasing basic furniture, household goods and supplies, transportation arranged, and home modifications provided as needed.

Medicaid waiver programs support and promote each person’s independence and freedom of choice. The CT Options Counselor works to help the Transition Coordinator ensure that the transition is complete. Participants who are successfully transitioned are supported through the CT program for 365 days.

We also have services available for those currently residing in a nursing home or rehabilitation center for at least 20 days. This program is designed to give seniors the opportunity to return home after rehab or recovery in a skilled nursing facility. Patients may be receiving rehabilitative services to help recover their physical and functional abilities so that they can return home safely. The goal is for them to resume their normal day-to-day activities while helping to minimize care costs and prevent hospital readmissions.

Services Include:

• Medical Equipment/Supplies

• Wheelchair Ramps

• Household Supplies

• One-Time Rent Assistance


55+ Years Old

Income less than $6175 per month

U.S. Citizen

20+ Days Term in Nursing Home or Short-Term Rehab

Number of CT/NHT transitions taking place FY 2022 is 20

MFP transitions 15 & NHT transitions 5

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Delivered through the Georgia Legal Services Program, the Elderly Legal Services Program targets seniors age 60+, providing information and community education. Volunteers and attorneys and one supervising attorney provide reduced fee services upon referral from the coordinator.

GLSP has closed 46 cases.

The closing reasons are:

• Counsel and Advice: 19

• Brief Service: 25

• Negotiated Settlement with Litigation: 1

• Administrative Agency Decision: 1

Ethnic Groups:

• White: 13

• Black: 27

• Other: 6

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We are always looking for dedicated members of the community to be a part of our volunteer movement. There are several ways a person can volunteer with Sowega Council on Aging. Our volunteers are age 55+ and serve within the Americorps RSVP program. Our process is simple and includes a background check, for the safety of our seniors, for the majority of the areas of service.

Our Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) is vital to meeting our local needs by providing an experienced volunteer workforce. Volunteers aged 55 and older are encouraged to serve by sharing their skills with others at senior centers or out in the community. The RSVP Volunteer can choose to work in various volunteer stations. Currently our volunteers are serving in the following areas: Ramp Crew, Craft Station, Telephone Reassurance, Wellness, Nursing Home Visitors, Transportation, and Tax Aide.

We also have episodic volunteer opportunities throughout the year that include events such as, but not limited to, Health Fairs, Senior Farmers Markets, or being a member of the agency councils and coalitions.


• A team of 90 volunteers logged over 10,410 hours.

• Our Senior Center Without Walls Model allowed our volunteer engagement to go beyond the brick-and-mortar and into the community to connect with 1500+ seniors.

• We built 105 ramps for disabled, ill or amputee clients.

• We produced over 1200 hand-crafted items including teddy bears, wheelchair bags and adult bibs for patients residing in the hospital or in Long Term Care Facilities.

• We made over 5,000 well-check phone calls to isolated seniors.

• We continue to partner with many businesses, churches, non-profit organizations, fraternities, and other affiliations within the 14 counties of Southwest Georgia. Organizations including Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and United Way of SWGA are major contributing partners to many of our programs and services offered within the community.

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The Family Caregiver Program supports caregivers who provide in-home care to a lovedone sixty years and older. An assessment with the caregiver is completed to identify the assistance needed and available resources.

Services & Material Aid Assistance

May Include: Options Counseling, Home modifications, Assistive Technology Devices, Incontinent supplies, nutritional supplements, over-the-counter medications, infection control products, skincare products, and more.

Events Include: Monthly Caregiver Support Group meetings, Annual Lunch and Learn Seminar in November. In recognition of National Caregiver Month in November, a family caregiver, paraprofessional caregiver, and a volunteer caregiver are honored at the annual Caregiver Conference. Additional seminars and learning opportunities are held throughout the year to support caregivers.

The Family Caregiver Program reduces caregiver burdens by providing emotional support, resources, education, and hope for caregivers.

Caregiver Material Aid Clients: 68


The CARE-NET is a unique volunteer coalition of caregiver support organizations from a broad array of illnesses and disabilities. Coalition members include volunteer leaders and advocates from community and state agencies, private corporations, churches, and family caregivers who provide ongoing information, assistance, counseling, training, and support groups for caregivers throughout Georgia:

• Links professional and family caregivers in a supportive community concerned with caregiving.

• Identifies community caregiving strengths and needs

• Implements effective educational programs for caregivers

• Organizes community forums on caregiving issues

• Provides a source of support for caregivers

• Fosters strong relationships among community leaders concerned about caregivers

• Helps agencies and stakeholders work collaboratively, coordinating human and fiscal resources

• Educates the public and legislators about caregiving

• Identifies policy issues and advocate on behalf of caregivers

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The Council on Aging is the area leader in senior advocacy. Older adult concerns are monitored and addressed throughout the year at the local, state, and federal levels.

Advocacy efforts include:

• Recommending Legislation

• Developing and presenting testimony at public hearings

• Representing elderly in long-term care facilities

• Addressing local civic groups, churches, city, and professional organizations

• Commenting on proposed legislation that affects seniors in our area

• Publishing an area-wide bi-monthly Long Term Care Ombudsman Newsletter.

• Working with AAA Board of Directors, Advisory Council, and Committees

Senior Week at the State Capitol was presented virtually due to COVID-19, as were the other CO-AGE meetings during the year. The Coalition of Advocates for Georgia’s Elderly (CO-AGE) was begun and is led by the Georgia Council on Aging. The coalition is meant to be a forum to identify and address concerns of older Georgians.


Partnerships with local farmers, food banks, churches, restaurants, grocery stores and senior housing complexes allowed for outreach and innovative service projects throughout the region.

This initiative meets quarterly and brings southwest Georgia area organizations and businesses together around the shared goal of combating senior hunger. Through innovative programming and partnerships, The Senior Hunger Coalition hopes to ensure that all clients are food secure and expands that commitment to serve all older adults within our community.

Focus Areas:

1. Today’s Seniors 2. Food Access 3. Food Waste and Reclamation 4. Meeting the Needs of the Community

5. Health Impact of Senior Hunger

Our FY22 Mini-Grant partnership with Hopkins Farms in Grady County, Calhoun Produce in Ashburn, and Piggly Wiggly in Donalsonville, we were able to coordinate with local church food pantries to provide produce bags and grocery vouchers to seniors in the following focus counties: Decatur, Grady, Seminole, and Worth. $1000 was awarded for each project and grocery totes were provided, as well.

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Your help makes a difference.

With your assistance, the Sowega Council on Aging works to make Southwest Georgia a better place for seniors and individuals with disabilities. 100% of all donations go directly into the programs and services offered in your area.

Visit our website to give today. sowegacoa.org

Programs and services funded in part by the United Way.