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Hoodland Senior Center named Super Heart Hero posted on 07/02/2018

Ella Vogel, director of the Hoodland Senior Center, accepted an award for the center’s efforts to assist isolated seniors at the May 24 Clackamas County Board of County Commissioner’s Business Meeting.

Each May is Mental Health Awareness Month in Clackamas County. For the past three years the Clackamas Behavioral Health Division (CBHD) has recognized local individuals and organizations with Super Heart Hero awards for their contributions toward promoting good mental health in the community.

This year’s awareness month focused on older adults and issues of loneliness that result in greater mental and physical health problems.

Vogel accepted the Super Heart Partner Award, which recognizes organizations that implement innovative behavioral health programs that positively affect the emotional well-being of the community.

“Something important for people to realize is that it’s not just professionals, we need our community working with people to reduce the stigma of mental health challenges,” said Nina Danielsen, CBHD health promotion coordinator.               

Danielsen described the center’s efforts to combat loneliness and isolation in the senior population. “They have done remarkable work out there,” she added.

During her presentation at the commissioner’s meeting, CBHD Director Mary Rumbaugh defined loneliness as “that feeling of being alone that makes you feel sad or isolated,” and described it as “a powerful indicator of mental and physical health issues.”

According to CBHD data from 2015 to 2017 people 55 and older account for 33 percent of all suicides in Clackamas County.

The center helps seniors in the Hoodland area by providing access to the Clackamas County Meals on Wheels program, assistance with rides to doctor’s appointments and other activities, aid with clothing and shelter and by providing both a place to socialize as well as a link to the community.

“We’re helping people in need who don’t have any other outlet,” said the senior center’s assistant to the director Leita Bibler. She listed a variety of issues older people without family, friends or a means of self-transportation encounter. “Sometimes it’s just knowing the right resources.”

Bibler added that the senior center is a nonprofit organization that provides its’ community outreach through volunteers.

During the ceremony Rumbaugh presented the Super Heart Hero award to Vogel and praised the center, saying “They love their jobs because they love the community they serve. They are the unsung heroes.”

After all the awards were presented commissioner’s board Chair Jim Bernard expressed gratitude to all recipients on behalf of the board. “It’s a big county and a lot of people need help and service. We could never do it without folks like you.”

Hoodland Senior Center is located at 65000 Hwy. 26 in Welches and can be reached by phone at 503-622-3331 and on the internet at http://www.mthood.info/hoodlandseniors.

Benjamin Simpson/MT

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