Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 21

wonderful the center is. She found items that
help her deal with the daily tasks of living
with debilitating sciatica-a shower bench,
grab bars, a power recliner. Her 92-year-old
mother got help in maneuvering her walker
and became more confident and more mobile.
"We want to continue living independently,
and the center has made my life easier," she
says. "I've sent at least 15 people there in the
last two weeks."
Preventing elder abuse is another focus in
Cobb County, Gill said. The county has taken
a multi-agency approach to stopping older
citizens from suffering financial, physical
or psychological harm and has become a
regional leader in prevention efforts. Included
in the county task force on elder abuse are
members of the Cobb district attorney's
office, the sheriff's department, hospitals,
non-profits, the GBI, the solicitor general and
the police departments of the county's various cities and Atlanta. Task force members
have worked with state legislators to change
the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony
for running an unlicensed personal care home
where elders were abused. They've also conducted workshops to inform first responders,
like EMS personnel and fire fighters, of signs
of elder abuse.
"There are always so many scams going on,
we're constantly warning people so they don't
get taken in," said Gill. "You have someone
who's alone at home and lonely and they're
likely to talk with anyone. That's another reason to come to one of our centers."
DeKalb's Multi-Purpose Centers
DeKalb County has six senior centers, four
of which serve congregate meals and two

multi-purpose centers which don't. Opened in
2006, the Lou Walker Senior Center on Panola
Road is a 40,000-square-foot multi-purpose
facility. In addition to activity rooms large
and small, on site are a gym, a heated pool,
a computer center, a full-service salon and
a Piccadilly cafeteria that's open for breakfast and lunch. There is something happening
around the clock, either a class, a club or a
physical fitness session.
Each of the 2,200 members pay $120 annually, which covers the cost of classes and
activities. Money earned from renting the
facility comes back to Lou Walker. Those
enrolled in the Silver Sneakers program, a
fitness program run by an insurance consortium, are also welcome at Lou Walker. People
are waiting to enter when the facility opens
at 8:30 a.m. and leaving reluctantly when it
closes at 5 p.m.
"We're saving the county money by keeping seniors active and their minds active, not
going to nursing homes or assisted living facilities," said director Bettye Davis. "They're
able to age in place."
Because the center doesn't receive federal
funds, Davis and her staff are free to do their
own programming. They consult with members to determine what the members want.
The broad array of clubs and classes reflect
the seniors' interests, such as yoga, meditation, pottery, quilting, line dancing, piano and
Zumba. The photography club travels far and
wide to scenic places to shoot pictures, documents life at Lou Walker and takes pictures at
county functions when requested.
A retired AT&T employee, Charleen Knox
has been a Lou Walker member since the
center operated, and says she has made

DEKALB COUNTY LOU WALKER SENIOR CENTER

said Gill. "If we can keep people healthier,
it will help the county because they will be
spending more money in the future."
The centers focus on spirit, mind and body,
and provides educational classes, exercise
sessions and information, giving "some
people a reason to live and a place to go."
There are classes on tornado safety, water
aerobics, long-term care planning, a hiking club
and bridge, as well as many exercise classes.
Some center members visit casinos; others
prefer more adventurous outings. Last summer, retired educator Dee Doss, 56, with five
other center members and a guide paddled
Class 3 rapids on the Nantahala River. "It's my
favorite rafting trip," she said. "The Nantahala
Outdoor Center worked so hard to make everyone feel comfortable." Doss also does line
dancing, plays mah jong and takes art classes
at the center, which she calls "a safe place to
meet people who have common interests."
In Marietta are the Cobb Senior Services
central offices, a wellness center, with health
and fitness equipment, a dinner theatre facility,
art studios and an adaptive technology lab.
Open on Fridays and by appointment, it serves
residents of all ages and abilities from Cobb,
Douglas and Cherokee counties. The adaptive
technology center helps people remain independent at home as long as possible. It was
funded with a $10,000 grant from the Atlanta
Regional Commission. It occupies a building
that used to be a health clinic, and it's set up as
though it's a house, with appropriate devices in
each room. For example, there are grab bars in
the shower, and seat extensions and bars on
either side of the toilet. In the kitchen is a
special spoon that compensates for tremors,
allowing someone whose hands are shaking to
feed himself or herself without spilling. There
are 120 different items, many of them donated
from companies partnering with Cobb Senior
Services. Georgia Tech's assistive technology
team, Tools for Life, introduced Gill and her staff
to new devices and showed how to use them.
"The center tells people what products are
out there and where they can be purchased,"
said Gill. If someone can't afford an item, Gill
helps find a workaround. Sometimes the solutions are complex. Sometimes they're simple,
like one client needing a small Cuisinart chopper. Another having trouble negotiating a
doorknob found that putting rubber bands
on it let her grip and open it.
Cosandra, a single woman in her 60s in
Cobb County, can't stop talking about how

Members of the DeKalb County Lou Walker Senior Center host a play dedicated to the
memory of Mr. Lou Walker. The center opened in 2006.
SUMMER 2017 www.accg.org

21


http://www.accg.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - Summer 2017

President’s Message
Director’s Message
Haralson County: Location and Rural History Provide Opportunities for Success
Parks and Recreation: An Investment for Today and Tomorrow
ACCG and GDOT Dedicate Historical Marker
County Senior Services Help Residents Flourish and Thrive
UGA Extension Educates Communities through Partnerships with Parks and Recreation Departments, Senior Centers
Q & A with Deputy Commissioner Ben Hames: Counties and Workforce Development
County Health Departments Work to Improve Communities
From Wellness to Wellbeing: LGRMS Assists Counties with Providing Comprehensive Health Programs to Local Government Employees
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - Intro
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - cover1
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - cover2
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 3
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 4
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 5
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 6
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 7
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - President’s Message
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - Director’s Message
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 10
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 11
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - Haralson County: Location and Rural History Provide Opportunities for Success
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 13
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 14
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 15
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - Parks and Recreation: An Investment for Today and Tomorrow
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 17
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 18
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - ACCG and GDOT Dedicate Historical Marker
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - County Senior Services Help Residents Flourish and Thrive
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 21
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 22
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - UGA Extension Educates Communities through Partnerships with Parks and Recreation Departments, Senior Centers
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 24
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 25
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - Q & A with Deputy Commissioner Ben Hames: Counties and Workforce Development
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 27
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - County Health Departments Work to Improve Communities
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 29
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 30
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - From Wellness to Wellbeing: LGRMS Assists Counties with Providing Comprehensive Health Programs to Local Government Employees
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 32
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - News & Notes
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - cover3
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - cover4
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