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Council moving on new center

Izzie Sadler, development director for SOWEGA Council on Aging, gave an update Tuesday on what the council is up to at the Albany Rotary Club meeting on Tuesday. The council is inching closer to its new senior center opening, with $6.2 million raised for the project so far.

Izzie Sadler, development director for SOWEGA Council on Aging, gave an update Tuesday on what the council is up to at the Albany Rotary Club meeting on Tuesday. The council is inching closer to its new senior center opening, with $6.2 million raised for the project so far.

ALBANY -- With their sights set on completing a new senior center, officials with SOWEGA Council on Aging are still maintaining the agency's services and commitment to the community.

Izzie Sadler, development director for SOWEGA, gave Dougherty Rotarians an update Tuesday on what the council is doing -- and how things at the organization are going leading up the anticipated center's grand opening, which is expected to take place next year.

"We serve the hungry, disabled, elderly, depressed and those without hope," Sadler said.

Among the services the council provides -- one the Rotary Club assists with -- is the Meals on Wheels program, which aims to feed the area's homebound. Last year, 184,000 meals were delivered within the SOWEGA's Council's 14-county area, Sadler said.

Sadler also addressed the primary mission of the council, which is to allow senior citizens to maintain an independent life for as long as they can.

"We want people to remain independent and at home for as long as possible," she said. "There may be a time when a nursing home is necessary, but I think we all agree we (would want to stay at home for as long as possible.)"

Some of the things offered through the council is an Alzheimer's Caregiver Time Out program, the Community Care Services Program -- which includes nursing and homemaking assistance, emergency response, a caregiver support program, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program -- also known as RSVP -- and senior employment.

These services are being maintained while the council is continuing on with a capital fundraising campaign that, to date, has raised $6.2 million for the $7 million senior center that will sit on the former Byne Memorial Baptist Church property facing West Society Avenue.

"We have 15 senior centers in 14 counties because of the two we have in Albany," Sadler said. "I'm glad to say we will no longer have them (the current Albany centers) soon. This has been a long time coming. It's really a big deal for us.

"The new center will be more than just a senior center. Our vision is for it to be a life-enrichment center."

Among the events used to raise funds for the new center are the council's annual comedy night, the Empty Bowls event that sold out in January and the upcoming "Juleps, Jockeys and Jazz" event.

"(These events) are not just about raising funds," Sadler said. "They are about raising awareness.

"Our goal is to be more of a presence. We provide a lot of services, and we want people to know what we can do for them."

The Albany-Dougherty Council on Aging was incorporated in 1966 to meet the physical, mental and spiritual needs of older people in the area. In 1979, the organization became known as the SOWEGA Council on Aging to reflect a growing service area.

The council has a "gateway" line that serves as a single point of entry for those seeking more information in its programs and services. That line is 800-282-6612.