Task Force Puts Spotlight on Senior Needs, SurveyThursday nights meeting focused on service availability to older residentsUniversity City Thursday nights meeting dealt with the availability of services to seniors in UniversityCity, and both speakers at last nights meeting spoke on that issue.Gladys Hicks of Mid-East Area Agency on Aging spoke about how her agency provides services to seniorsin the four counties that Mid-East cover, which include St. Louis County, St. Charles, Franklin andJefferson Counties. The agency is one of 600 agencies nationwide, receives funding from the OlderAmericans Act of 1965, and administered by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services,their website states.Hicks stated there are two issues that are confronting seniors: transportation and caregivers.Meals are the uppermost thing keeping seniors in their home, Hicks said. She also said that Mid-Eastsprimary goal is to keep seniors independent in their communities for as long as possible.Agencies on Aging were intended to be in the community to serve as a unbiased go-to to look at seniorneeds and come up with community resources.When asked about transportation, by task force co-chair Hicks said that her agency has a transportationcomponent and works with several agencies on transportation including OATS and Metro. Sheexpressed concern that things have become difficult because transportation had been reduced to OchsSenior Center on 975 Pennsylvania to only on Mondays through Thursdays, leaving Friday, Saturday, andSunday without transportation.Its very rough telling seniors that the fifth day, a Friday, that you are going to be by yourself for threedays in a row.The cuts, Hicks said happened over 5 years ago. Another agency, the Senior Service Board was availablefor transportation, until it became defunct.Another issue that address was about the funding that the Mid-East receives from the federalgovernment; monies are distributed based on the census numbers. Task force member Clayton Wareasked Hicks on the effects of the funding, and she stated that upwards of $200,000 could be lost due tothe drop in population in University City in the 2010 census.She also noted during her presentation that the University City heavily uses the transportation andmeals on wheels on programs. When asked about the support University City gives to Mid-East, Hicksstated that the city ranks very high in support, but it would be essential to keep them in their thoughts,and budgets, to keep the seniors going.