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Elderbridge now open for appointments

Agency offers nutrition program, case management services; Caregiver support and exercise classes available

After being closed to the public for more than a year, Elderbridge Agency on Aging is now open for appointments and its congregate meals are meeting in person again.

“Our meal program, our nutrition program, continued on through the whole pandemic, which is pretty phenomenal,” said Elderbridge Chief Operating Officer Stacia Timmer.

Though, instead of congregating for meals and socializing, seniors picked up to-go meals from the sites, or had them delivered.

“Home-delivered are still going to those that are homebound, but those that liked the socialization, they liked to eat with their friends, they liked to go to the senior centers, we are now welcoming them back,” she said.

Elderbridge, with offices in Fort Dodge, Mason City, Carroll and Spencer, serves much of the northern and western portions of Iowa. The organization works to serve older adults, caregivers and adults with disabilities through supportive services, health and nutrition programs, family caregiver support and elder rights.

The LifeLong Links program helps give seniors the support they need to live healthy, independent lives at home.

“We can help people with financial assistance programs, Medicare savings programs,” Timmer said. “We can help with all of those forms and applications that it involves, or we can just give them the information they’re looking for.”

For those with more complex needs, Elderbridge offers case management services.

The congregate and home-delivered meals are ever popular with Elderbridge clients, who were eager to get back to having their regular lunches with their friends, Timmer said.

“We’ve had a lot of people the last few months ask ‘When can we get back to meeting with our friends and eating together?'” she said. “They’ve been wanting this for a long time.”

Elderbridge also offers support for family caregivers, including support groups to connect with other family caregivers, training, education and respite care to give the caregiver a short break.

“We want to take care of the caregivers,” Timmer said.

Something new that Elderbridge is going to be starting, Timmer said, is a new older relative caregiver program to provide support for grandparents and other older relatives caring for young children.

In focusing on health for their clients, Elderbridge offers fitness classes like Tai Chi and Matter of Balance and nutrition classes to learn about low-cost healthy recipes.

For more information on Elderbridge programs and resources, visit www.elderbridge.org. To make an appointment, call 1-800-243-0678.

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