The Senior Center in Verona takes over several services from Belleville | Community

Older people in the city of Verona now have access to services closer to their homes.

After having to use the Sugar River Elderly Center in the village of Belleville, residents of the city of Verona can now use the Verona Elderly Center in the same way as residents of the city of Verona since the 1st January.

“It makes more sense, I think, that these people come here, we are physically closer,” Stephanie Ehle, director of the Verona Senior Center, told reporters.

There are three services which will now be operated by the Verona center instead of Belleville, she said. These are food, case management and transportation.

Monday, January 3 was the first day for Verona to serve meals on wheels to residents of the city of Verona, and there were around seven or eight new people at VSC who were traveling to Belleville for the service, Ehle said.

“From what the city of Verona shared, Meals on Wheels was going to have the biggest impact on us,” she said. “We have reorganized our routes, but it went well. “

Verona staff initially plan to recruit 20 more people per day across all of their nutrition departments, Ehle said.

The Verona center had been in discussions with the Belleville center for some time ahead of this week’s transition, she said, asking for data on the number of people they had served, so the transition would go smoothly .

It took a lot of coordination to get a feel for where the new Meals on Wheels customers were and print out new driving routes.

“It took a bit of planning to make sure we had the information so that we were ready to help serve,” Ehle said. “They provided data but were concerned about whether we will treat all of their customers with care – which we obviously will – but it’s hard for them to lose these people.”

Residents of the city of Verona will now get the management of their fighters from the city’s two case managers, Julie Larson and Drake Deno.

“Our team reached out to everyone and introduced themselves, and it seems like a welcome change from what we can say,” Ehle said of the new clients. “I think it went pretty well.”

The Belleville center case manager has also contacted clients about the change.

People can use case managers for a variety of services such as helping with resources when they move, helping with the transition from home to nursing, or if they are food insecure, said Ehle.

The Verona city administration helped by sending information to residents about services that would be supported by the city center from January 1, Ehle said.

“Much of this communication has been done from their side,” she said.

And residents of the city of Verona who were not or are not already receiving services in Belleville will be sent to Verona if they unknowingly contact Belleville, she said.

As the Verona center anticipates an increase in deliveries and in-home meals, it recently lost its nutritional coordinator, Ehle said.

The center had just increased the part-time hours to a full-time position from 40 hours per week, but the coordinator resigned.

For now, the center is filling this vacancy with internal staff and volunteers, but is actively recruiting a full-time Nutrition Coordinator.

Fortunately, the center partners with TnT’s Catering out in Middleton for all the cooking, and the coordinator’s role is more to distribute meals. Which – given that the center distributes over 80 meals on certain days – it wouldn’t be able to sustain it if it had to prepare the meals as well, Ehle said.

For home meal delivery, there was no deviation despite the loss of the nutrition coordinator, just a few pitfalls such as providing the wrong type of cookie for dessert – for which the staff apologize and promise to. do well next time, said Ehle.

For now, the center also doesn’t really advertise its group meals – in part because of the rise of the Omicron variant in COVID-19, but also because the center is aiming this year to transform meals into a ‘grab’ n ‘go format, so customers have a meal and then go to an event such as a movie screening or a game of bingo.

In part, this will help food insecure people integrate further, Ehle said. But it will also make it harder to visualize the increase in customers coming from downtown Belleville, she said.

In addition to meals, transport services and case management, people who live in the city of Verona, the city of Verona or Belleville can come to either center for classes, workshops and programs. There are no limits set for these offers, Ehle said.

“We are delighted to welcome people from the city of Verona,” she said. “But since everyone was welcome to participate in programs here before, I’m not sure there will be a big wave of people. “

As for the increase in the number of people using the center as the number of COVID-19 cases increased, Ehle said his staff was approaching 2022 “calmly and cautiously.”

Between COVID-19, it’s flu season, and them being down on the nutrition coordinator position, they’ve had to shift gears a bit, she said.

“We have a light first trimester, but our ‘light’ is still a bit heavy compared to other senior centers,” she said. “We try to plan a bit ahead to save resources and time, and to be more organized with how we do things. We move forward as if we want to be normal.

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