January 23, 2016

County services promote independence for aging adults

Volunteer driver Moana Edwards loads her truck to get ready for her route. Meals on Wheels have 12 or more trucks going out on various routes each day. Photo by Matt Garner
Volunteer driver Moana Edwards loads her truck to get ready for her route. Meals on Wheels have 12 or more trucks going out on various routes each day. Photo by Matt Garner|| Volunteer driver Moana Edwards loads her truck to get ready for her route. Meals on Wheels have 12 or more trucks going out on various routes each day. Photo by Matt Garner|| ||
By The West View

Salt Lake County provides some very interesting and helpful services to our growing population of senior citizens. Thanks to better information on how to care for ourselves, and how to obtain better nutrition and healthcare, our life expectancy has increased. We can look to Salt Lake County Aging & Adult Services for services to help make our lives easier.

When Congress passed the Older American Act in 1965, Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services was established as the first local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) in the state of Utah. It is the largest AAA in Utah and the eleventh largest in the Nation.

Our Aging and Adult Services has four categories that work together to support seniors in Salt Lake County: Community Engagement & Resources; Promoting Active Aging; Supporting the Most Vulnerable; and Promoting Independent Living.

Meals on Wheels and Rides for Wellness are two of the programs that offer assistance to older adults so that they can continue to live independently in their own residences. As a senior myself, I know how important it is to feel and act independently. 

Meals on Wheels provides balanced nutritional lunches to homebound seniors who may be unable to cook for themselves. Additionally, when meals are delivered, a wellness check is provided to older citizens who may otherwise be isolated from socialization.

In 2013, Meals On Wheels delivered 330,000 meals to homebound clients, numbering over 1,400, which calculates to over 6,100 meals weekly. Meals are delivered Monday through Friday (weekend meals are delivered on Thursday and Friday) which improves clients’ nutrition, helps socialization and promotes independent living. Salt Lake County Meals on Wheels have over 40 volunteer partners and over 50 volunteer routes.

The Rides for Wellness program provides reliable transportation for adults aged 60 and older, who have no other means of transportation. Rides to vital medical appointments and treatments, dental care, essential business appointments, pick up prescriptions, and group grocery shopping from participating housing facilities, are a few of the transportation needs facilitated by the program.

In 2013, Salt Lake County Rides for Wellness provided approximately 50,000 essential rides or over 4,000 rides per month. 25 percent of rides are given by individual volunteers. In 2013 volunteer drivers provided 12,324 rides. There are approximately 42 volunteers in the Rides for Wellness program. The office sends out monthly donation statements where a $2.00 donation is suggested for each trip.

There are many services available to us “Golden Oldies” here in Salt Lake County. I have only scratched the surface. Many of our Aging and Adult Services programs are supported by volunteers who give of their time and talent. I can say from personal experience that volunteering has rewards that go well beyond anything easily expressed.

Charlie Hobbs has resided in Poplar Grove with his wife, Nancy, for 30 years. They raised 3 children who still live in Salt Lake County along with 8 of their 9 grandchildren. Charlie has been a volunteer driver for Rides for Wellness since retiring five years ago.


For more information on these and other Salt Lake County services for older adults, visit http://slco.org/aging-adult-services/ or call the following phone numbers:

  • Meals on Wheels:  For new meal service: Call 385.468.3200,  Existing clients call 385.468.3220
  • Rides for Wellness:   To enroll as a new client, call:  385.468.3200.  To cancel a ride, or for more information about the program call: 385.468.3400