The City of Ventura cares about its seniors. Ventura Mayor Erik Nasarenko wishing Bonaventure resident Sara Flournoy a Happy 103rd Birthday!
Ventura’s older population is growing. More than 13% of our population is age 65 years and older, higher than the statewide count of 11.4%. This should come as no surprise, because the weather, recreational opportunities and quality health care facilities make Ventura a great place to live, and retire. One of the most important service needs is to keep seniors independent–and with a little help this can be achieved.
Each year, the Ventura Avenue Adult Center (VAAC) provides services and programs for nearly 19,000 seniors and adults. In fiscal year 2015-16, the VAAC served more than 6,300 nutritious meals at their 550 N. Ventura Avenue location and provided 15,500 home-delivered meals to homebound seniors in need. Meal delivery services provide a healthy, well-balanced meal along with the opportunity for social contact and a wellness check for homebound older adults.
In addition to the Senior Nutrition program, the VAAC also offers healthy fitness and recreational activities (such as Bocce ball, Tai Chi, yoga, and Zumba), educational classes and social opportunities (technology workshops, arts, and gardening), and ways to get involved with advocacy issues through the Ventura Council for Seniors.
New community partnerships have emerged to support the City’s efforts and expand programs including senior billiards at Stiix Billiards in Midtown Ventura, BBQ lunches provided by the Downtown Rotary, legal advice and tax preparation workshops by AARP and Grey Law, as well as educational forums with Ventura Adult Continuing Education. In addition, the City’s Volunteer Ventura! Program utilizes seniors to assist with meal preparation, bingo games, FOOD Share Brown Bag program, and special events.
Maintaining and growing services for seniors is dependent upon additional revenue, grants, donations and sponsorships. With a recent $89,150 grant from the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging , the Senior Nutrition Program was able to expand its congregate meal program by establishing the new Eastside Café (located at The Salvation Army/Silvercrest Senior Residence, 750 S. Petit Avenue) and reach more seniors through additional home-delivered meals. Both the Westside Café and the new Eastside Café are open Monday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. serving hot, nutritious meals. Since its opening in August, the new Eastside Café has served 492 meals to residents who may not have otherwise received a nutritious hot meal that day. While on the Westside, residents enjoyed 484 meals at the VAAC and 1,325 meals were delivered to homebound seniors in Ventura. With increased funding resources, the current senior center hours of 9am to 3pm could be expanded by ten hours each week (8am to 4pm) to help keep up with services and provide important programs for our growing senior population.
Older adults need opportunities to keep learning and to be stimulated by new experiences. Ensuring our senior population has access to services they depend on and feel they are connected to the community is vital to their health and social well-being.