Seniors | St. Louis Public Radio

Seniors

jpellegen | Flickr

Food insecurity is affecting a significant number of seniors, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. A recently released report found 12% of Missouri seniors did not have consistent access to food in 2015.

Close to 170,000 older Missourians — or 1 in 8 of the state’s seniors — suffer from food insecurity. That’s when a person can’t safely access healthy food due to cost, lack of transportation or other factors. With seniors in already-vulnerable health, a lack of healthy food can cause new health conditions and make existing ones such as high blood pressure or diabetes more serious.

Beverly Nance and Mary Walsh pose for a portrait at their home in Shrewsbury on August 28, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A district judge dismissed a lawsuit against a Sunset Hills retirement community today.

Mary Walsh and Beverly Nance took Friendship Village to federal court for sex discrimination in July, after the senior-living facility denied the same-sex couple’s housing application. Friendship Village cited its ‘Cohabitation Policy’ as the reason for the rejection. The policy defines marriage as between one man and one woman, as “marriage is understood in the Bible.”

Over 1,100 athletes competed in the 2018 St. Louis Senior Games, which included sports ranging from water volleyball to track and field.
St. Louis Jewish Community Center

In St. Louis, you’re never too old to become an Olympic athlete.

This weekend, hundreds of people from across the region have come together to compete in the 39th annual St. Louis Senior Olympics. The event, which is open to anyone over the age of 50, includes a wide range of sports.

Veterans Home resident Curtis Washington shares his concerns as his wife, Sandra, holds a microphone at an event, October 2017.
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

This story has been updated.

Missed medications. Falsified records. A veteran with dementia placed in a scalding hot shower, unable to move.

One by one, concerned family members and employees of the St. Louis Veterans Home — some angry, others in tears — took to a microphone at North Kirkwood Middle School late Monday. They alleged that the 300-bed facility in north St. Louis County is so mismanaged that its care of aging residents amounts to neglect. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are particularly vulnerable, they said.  

Cardinal Ritter Senior Services’ Foster Grandparents program connects seniors with low-income children with special needs.
Cardinal Ritter Senior Services

Low-income Missouri seniors likely will pay more for their medications, after Gov. Eric Greitens signs the state budget.

The Missouri Rx Plan covered half the copay charged to seniors on Medicare with incomes below about $24,000 a year. But budget cuts approved by Missouri legislators will end the benefit on July 1. About 63,000 people kicked out of the program received letters in mid-June notifying them of the change, which sparked criticism from advocates for senior citizens.

“If they don’t get their medications, they’re not going to be able to stay healthy, and they’re going to be able to end up in an emergency room,” said Mary Schaefer, executive director of the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging.

Curious Louis: The oldest person in St. Louis, take two!

Mar 17, 2017
Dorothy Hunter, 109, sits in her apartment at an assisted living facility in Ballwin. Hunter, a retired teacher, has lived in St. Louis her whole life.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When a listener asked our Curious Louis project to find the oldest person in St. Louis, we were convinced we had found her — 109-year-old Lucy Hamm

But it wasn’t long before we started getting calls and emails about someone else we should meet — Dorothy Hunter of Ballwin.

Van Tyler checks a list of names and addresses while delivering meals in Jennings for the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging in June, 2016.
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

States with rapidly aging populations, like Missouri, are seeing increased costs to Medicaid programs that cover low-income residents.

But the Republicans' health care proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act would create per-capita caps for federal Medicaid funding, potentially shifting increased costs to states. Advocacy groups for seniors warn that the proposal working its way through Congress may not adequately fund their care.

New appliances sit in the unfinished kitchen at the Ferguson Community Center.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

North St. Louis County seniors will be waiting a bit longer for the opening of a new center run by the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging. The organization is remodeling an unused kitchen and common room at the Ferguson Community Center to provide hot meals and programs for older adults.

Though she had once hoped to open the center by Christmas, Executive Director Mary Schaefer said the space should be ready in the next two months.

Van Tyler checks a list of names and addresses while delivering meals in Jennings for the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging in June, 2016.
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Since the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging saw its funding slashed by about $2 million during the recession, the agency has had to piece together grants for major projects.

“We’ve had to close senior centers over the years because we can’t support the number that were originally being utilized. And yet at the same time the population is growing,” Director Mary Schaefer said.

That could soon change. On Nov. 8, voters in St. Charles County, St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis will see a box for “Proposition S” on the ballot. The initiative would increase property taxes to pay for programs for seniors, to help them continue living at home.

A co-worker calls Matt Brock's service dog, Lynn, out from under Matt's desk at his Paraquad cubicle.
FIle Photo | St. Louis Public Radio

Update June 9 with signature: Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation on Thursday that could expand Medicaid eligibility for Missourians who are elderly or living with a disability.

For decades, Missourians who were elderly, blind or disabled could only have $1,000 or less in savings. The bill Nixon signed would gradually raise that asset limit to $5,000 for an unmarried person and $10,000 for a married couple.

Ready for your closeup? It's senior photo time

Jul 26, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 26, 2010 - Summertime and the high-school seniors are posing. Cameras are clicking, and the interest is high.

This is the season when seniors prepare for their senior photo sessions. They're busy deciding which clothes and how many outfits to wear, what photos to get, which hobbies to incorporate in the photos, how much money to spend -- and which photographer to use.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 14, 2009 - When Sylvia Squires' husband was dying of cancer three years ago, no medical professional questioned her constant presence and her right to make decisions. Now, Squires, 67, can't count on the same acceptance as she and her partner Mary Ann Roos, 56, look to their future.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 30, 2009 - Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., on Monday expressed concerns about the potential for predatory lending and fraud in the growing reverse mortgage industry and recommended revamped federal standards.

McCaskill, who presided over a field hearing of the Senate Special Committee on Aging at the OCHS Senior Center in University City, also warned of misleading advertising and excessive fees for the loans, which she said are extremely complex and difficult to understand.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 13, 2009 - One doctor remembered growing up with her grandmother. Another watched his wife's family deal with a loved one's Alzheimer's Disease. Another simply wanted to get away from snow. Whatever the reason, a love of challenge and caring for seniors drives the doctors teaching and learning in the Geriatric Medical Program at St. Louis University Medical School.

Volunteers pack up meals to be delivered to seniors at the Carondelet Senior Center in south St. Louis. 2008. 200 pixels
Amelia Flood | St. Louis Beacon archive

This post first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 13, 2008 - They call them "meal holidays" or "dark days."

As costs have risen faster than funding, some social service agencies are facing tough decisions about providing meals for the senior citizens who rely on them. Others are looking for ways to keep afloat as demands for help multiply faster than the dollars coming into their coffers.