Lots Going on at the Monroe City Senior Center

by Lacey Shumard

The Monroe City Senior Center has had a lot of great things going on here lately such as getting a new walk-in freezer, new stove, along with providing some new programs for the Seniors in their community. Along with all of that they are looking forward to reopening the facility after being closed to the public for 14 months due to the pandemic. The tentative reopen date has been set for May 3rd, but if you are not ready yet to be in crowds, they will still be offering the drive through service Monday-Fridays from 11am until 12:30.

In the past month, the senior center has undergone some changed in their kitchen equipment with one being planned and the other being an emergency. With the senior center reporting that in February alone they delivered 1898 to homes and 912 meals were handed out through the drive through making it important of having good quality kitchen equipment is essential. The planned change was the new walk-in freezer that increased their freezer storage space significantly, helping to organize and keep the food safe under health code guidelines. The unplanned change that came up was the new stove that was purchased using grants as the old one was no longer operational.

Although the pandemic has restricted the amount that they can do face to face the Senior Center has found creative ways to be able to help the seniors in their community. One of the new program projects that they have taken part in is called the Robotic Pet Project. According to Missouri Assistive Technology the purpose of this endeavor is to explore (through a fun and creative way) the use of the robotic companion pets as a low-cost, low-tech means to alleviate the negative impacts of social isolation. Participation in the study is open to both older adults and individuals with disabilities who are at least 18 years old and residing independently. The only qualifier is that participants must be able to distinguish between a live animal and a robotic pet.

An adoption process is part of the study where each participant fills out an "Adoptee Agreement". Then the volunteers are provided either a robotic cat or a dog depending on there preference. Each pet arrives with the batteries already loaded. Upon arrival, the only set-up step will be to turn the pet on. The switch for which is located on the bottom of the pet. The volunteers fill out a pre and a post adoption questionnaire.

The volunteers do weekly check-ins to make sure all is going well with there new pets. The goal is that each adoptee will spend time daily with their pet. This is encouraged with the weekly check-ins. At the Conclusion of the 5-weeks, adoptees will have the choice to either return the pet to Missouri Assistive Technology or to keep it free of charge.

The M.A.T stated "We sincerely want this to be a project that you view as both fun and rewarding that leads to positive findings that we can all build on to further address the needs of those we work with."

Looks like the Monroe City Senior Center is working hard to keep the seniors in the community not only well fed but also active and involved.