OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee County senior citizens are holding up well despite the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Tom Leach of Okeechobeee County Senior Services.
“Our seniors are really holding up quite well,” Leach told Okeechobee County Commissioners at their Thursday, Dec. 10 meeting.
“This is a resilient generation,” he said. “They know how to get by. They know how to hunker down.”
He said they have lost some clients in the past nine months but as far as he knows none of the deaths were due to COVID-19.
The seniors who regularly attended the senior center before the pandemic are anxious to come back when it is safe, Leach continued. He said the county staff is putting forth a drive to “adopt a grandparent for Christmas” to provide holiday gifts for all of the seniors. He added finding out what the seniors might have on a wish list is difficult because “every time we make contact with our clients, they say they are sure there is someone else who needs help more than they do.”
In related business, the commissioners designated Okeechobee Senior Services as the lead agency for the Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach/Treasure Coast, Inc. (AAA), as they have done in the past. Okeechobee Senior Services has received the Older American Act (OAA) grant through the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) of Palm Beach/Treasure Coast, Inc. for over 20 years. Okeechobee Senior Services uses these OAA funds to provide meals, transportation, and inhome supportive services to eligible individuals age 60 and above in Okeechobee County. They recently received an overall funding increase of $20,166.83. At the Dec. 10 meeting, commissioners amended the 2020-2021 fiscal budget to appropriate unanticipated OAA grant funds for the Senior Services operating area.