Maumee Senior Center Meets The Changing Needs Of A Growing Population Of Local Seniors

The Maumee Senior Center provides seniors from Maumee, South Toledo, Whitehouse, Monclova, Waterville and Neapolis with a variety of services, ranging from offering fun to meeting critical needs. MIRROR PHOTO BY MIKE McCARTHY

BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — As the 30th anniversary of the Maumee Senior Center approaches, the staff members are hoping to remind community members about the importance of the center and who they serve.

The Maumee Senior Center provides seniors from Maumee, South Toledo, Whitehouse, Monclova, Waterville and Neapolis with a variety of services, ranging from offering fun to meeting critical needs.

“We are connected to about 1,400 seniors,” said executive director Malinda Ruble. “Some of them come in and participate in the services and programs. Some of them support us. Some of them just come in for special events. We try to meet a variety of needs.”

According to the Ohio Department of Aging, in 2023, there were more than 2.8 million Ohioans ages 60 and older. They account for nearly a quarter of the state’s population.

Nationwide, according to the Administration for Community Living, the population over age 60 is projected to increase from 78.9 million in 2022 to 94.7 million in 2035, a 20-percent increase.

“We know that things are increasing, but it’s interesting to actually see the numbers,” Ruble said.

The average age of the seniors at the Maumee Senior Center has decreased from 84 to 78 over the past five years.

It’s a message the center wants to emphasize: Many people can take advantage of the center’s services starting at an earlier age.

While all fundraising events are open to people of all ages, the center provides many of its resources for free or at discounted rates to those 60 and older.

Those discounted services can be especially important to people on a fixed income.

“I was surprised that 59 percent of our seniors are at the poverty level, which is up from 36 percent in 2019,” Ruble said.

Many of those seniors can take advantage of low-cost meals through the nutrition program, Ruble said.

“The number of meals we provide has definitely increased,” Ruble said.

In 2023, the center provided 8,756 meals, a 43-percent increase from 6,124 in 2014.

In 2022, the Maumee Senior Center received 4.5 stars for overall meal satisfaction through the Area Office on Aging’s poll.

The number of transports has also increased 44 percent from 2,563 in 2014 to 3,698 in 2023.

The employed drivers covered an average of nearly 20,000 miles last year.

Not including transportation, trips, meals or fundraising events, the center offered nearly 3,000 opportunities for socialization and recreation in 2023.

In order to effectively provide these opportunities and quality nutrition, the center relies heavily on the efforts of volunteers in addition to the staff.

“We couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers and student volunteers,” Ruble said. “If we didn’t have our volunteers, we could not afford to run this place.”

Approximately 1,800 volunteer hours are needed to run the office and 2,700 are needed in the kitchen each year. For the events to run smoothly, more than 1,000 additional volunteer hours are needed.

At nearly 6,000 volunteer hours, the senior center saves thousands thanks to those volunteers every year, Ruble noted.

For the fees and bills the center accrues, they receive some funding from the city of Maumee and the Area Office on Aging.

“Fundraising sponsors are so important, too,” Ruble said. “We use that money to help bridge the gap between funding we receive.”

Last year, sponsors helped the center with more than $25,000 in funds, and the fundraising events brought in approximately $33,000.

“It takes all the little pieces of the funding to try to pay the bills.”

Upcoming senior center events and fundraisers can be found on the website at maumeeseniorcenter.com.

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