Ammann serves the region’s elderly

In one year, the Elderbridge Agency on Aging provides more than a half million meals to senior citizens in the communities the organization serves through the Congregate Meals and Meals on Wheels programs.

One of the primary people behind those meal services is Robert Ammann, the agency’s healthy aging director, based in the Fort Dodge office of Elderbridge.

“I really have two primary duties,” said Ammann, who has worked for Elderbridge for seven years. “One of the biggest is overseeing the congregate and meals on wheels programs.”

Ammann said the agency covers 29 counties, stretching from Lyon County in the northwest corner of the state near the South Dakota border east to Mitchell County on the Minnesota border north of Mason City.

“I work with all of the Elderbridge area,” he said. “We have 29 counties in our service area and provide oversight for approximately 90 meal sites for Congregate Meals and 75 Meals on Wheels programs.”

Originally the nutrition director, Ammann said his role and title have changed as more programs have been added to provide healthy living resources to senior citizens.

“We have added some evidence-based wellness programs,” he said.

The new programs, Better Choices/Better Health and Matter of Balance, help seniors cope with chronic diseases and falls.

“These are both a new series of workshops,” said Ammann. “We want the people we serve to be healthy.”

Another role Ammann fills is the office manager, helping to oversee the staff in the Fort Dodge office.

“We are very fortunate to have a good staff here,” he said. “They are all here for the right reasons. You get into this business because you care; it’s not something we do for the money.”

Ammann said another large service Elderbridge provides is case management.

“We make assessments with our consumers,” he said. “We are a home and community-based service. We want to keep people in their homes as much as we can through our services. It is less expensive to manage someone at home than to have to place them in a nursing home.”

Although Elderbridge covers a large area, Ammann said he enjoys getting out to various meal sites to meet the people the organization serves.

“I really enjoy working with older adults,” he said. “I like getting out to the meal sites. That’s where you get the interaction with people, and the people we serve seem to appreciate what we give them.”