The Webster Council on Aging has a new director, and she has hit the ground running.
Patsy Dees, the former financial manager, was named as the COA’s director upon the retirement of former director Dathene Brown. She said she is honored that the board of directors chose her to take the helm of the organization she has worked for since 1987.
“When the director’s position came open, I had some board members, staff and some people outside that asked me to apply,” she said. “I just kept thinking about it and praying about it, and I talked to some people, and it just worked out.”
Dees is looking forward to making improvements to the programs at the center and improving outreach to the seniors of Webster Parish.
“We now have a beautiful center, and it’s out here where people can find us,” she said. “The one good thing we have is a good staff. My goal, and my mission, is to bring in as many seniors as we can to become a part of the council. One of the visions is to be a presence in the community and open up the center to bring in more educational opportunities.”
Cindy Watson, activities site manager and program assistant, said several things have already changed and improved. Bingo is a popular game among attendees, and instead of playing for cash, they now play for “bingo bucks.” At the end of the quarter, seniors will attend a bingo party where they can bid on prizes with their “bingo bucks” in a silent auction.
“We’re trying to get some more activities out here in the afternoon,” she said. “We’re working on a lake and picnic outing. We just want to get them together with friends and have a good quality of life and enjoy their senior years. It’s good for them, and a lot of the seniors know the facility is here, but they don’t know what we do.”
The most popular service the COA offers is Meals on Wheels and offering a hot meal at lunch each weekday allows seniors to get at least one nutritious meal a day and fellowship together. The COA offers an array of programs for seniors aged 60 and older that many might not be aware of, Dees said. With the Meals on Wheels, the homebound will receive a hot meal and a frozen meal. During an emergency, Dees said their clients can receive “shelf stable” meals to tide them over. They also offer commodities from the Northwest Louisiana Food Bank in Shreveport, where seniors in need can pick up food boxes.
Watson said they offer additional programs such as exercises three days per week, health information, financial information, entertainment and assistance with Medicaid and Medicare. They also provide transportation and the homemaker service.
“We want people coming into our building in the afternoons,” Dees said. “We want them to be able to get educational information. We want them to become a part of all that we have to offer. I’ve come to the understanding that if you surround yourself with good people, good things will happen. We have good people working; everybody is working together, and that’s what’s made it a good, smooth transition.”