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Sowega Council on Aging receives State Recognition

The Sowega Council on Aging (SCOA) has been named the Aging & Disability Resource Connection AAA Excellence in Innovation Award recipient by the Georgia Department of Human Services. This award recognizes the Area Agency on Aging that has shown innovations in programming, staffing, service delivery, assistive technology, and reaching underserved clients and is chosen from nominations made by members within the Aging Network of Georgia.

Sowega Council on Aging, noted for their work in 2020, quickly pivoted their in-person senior centers to a “Senior Center without Walls” model after the arrival of Covid-19. In the new model, the agency began working with area restaurants, partners, and volunteers to develop a comprehensive program that provided clients with balanced restaurant meals paired with virtual and socially distanced in-person activities.

The new model increased the number of seniors who want to participate in SCOA programs across the fourteen counties they serve. For example, one county increased from 17 participants pre-covid to 294 in the Senior Center without Walls model. In addition, the agency continues to see an increase monthly of seniors who want to join.

One person who nominated SCOA for the AAA Excellence in Innovation Award, it was said, “This organization has been ahead of the curve in adapting to the challenges brought about by COVID-19. The organization was already using the ‘My Senior Center’ solution prior to COVID, which is a piece of technology that other AAAs have now implemented in the wake of the crisis. They saw a problem and a need and then put forth the effort to address it and help citizens.”

“I am proud of the SCOA team,” says Izzie Sadler, Sowega Council on Aging Executive Director. “Covid required quick and essential changes to the services we provide the aging community. However, their needs did not disappear with the arrival of Covid – they increased.” In addition, Sadler noted other areas in which the SCOA team worked tirelessly to pivot in-person services – telephonic BINGO, Facebook Live classes, and Outdoor Tai Chi are just a few ways the agency kept seniors cared for and connected.

“This award reflects the passion of our team,” Sadler said, “and the important work we do in making resources available for the aging community.”

For more information about the services of Sowega Council on Aging, please visit www.sowegacoa.org.