ELKHART — With 44 years in the books, the Council on Aging held its annual Halloween party and anniversary celebration Thursday during its regular meeting at First Presbyterian Church.

Halloween is special time for the organization, which was founded on Oct. 31, 1975.  The event included a costume party, guest speaker Mayor Tim Neese, lunch and bingo.

Council on Aging executive director David Toney said about 70 percent of the agency’s clients say Council on Aging activities are their main socialization for the week, despite the majority of them being licensed drivers.

No longer meeting at the Tolson on Tuesdays, the Council on Aging still meets every Wednesday and Thursday at First Presbyterian Church. Nearly 60 seniors attend their activities.

Activities and services for clients of the Council on Aging have declined in recent years, Toney said, to ensure the council can still provide the best possible service to seniors.

“These people are the veterans of this county,” Toney said. “Ten years ago, you might as well have dropped a bomb in this county; this was the worst county in the country to be in, and they all stayed.”

Council on Aging’s flagship service is transportation, which makes nearly 11,000 trips per year with 11 vehicles. Next year, it will add three more vehicles to its fleet.

In-home services are also a strong program for the agency.

“Those services are not just to take somebody to a medical appointment or to clean their house,” Toney said. “The purpose is to take away some of the stress and some of the anxiety, even the fear of growing old.”

Toney said services also benefit family members who don’t have to spend all their visiting time transporting their loved ones.

With the holidays coming up, the Council on Aging is always seeking donations in order to continue to provide the programs it offers for seniors, he said.

“This time of the year, people’s hearts and wallets open up because it’s that giving time,” Toney said. “A lot of the time that funding goes toward the youth or the humane society, and that’s great. We’d just like them to consider donating to help these folks as well.”

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