August 16, 2009 marked the passing of the founding director of Clermont Senior Services, Lois Brown Dale. 2009 also marked the 40th anniversary of the agency she created and directed for 22 years. Although Lois retired in 1991, her spirit continues to live on in the work we do. In the fall of 1969, Lois secured a small federal demonstration grant to open senior centers in several communities throughout the county. This may have seemed a small venture at the time, but through this humble beginning, the seeds of Lois’ vision were planted. She quickly attracted funding partners like United Way and the Council on Aging, and set about the business of creating a network of services that would enrich the lives of Clermont County’s older citizens and help them remain independent during their late years.
Lois was a pioneer in the development of services for older adults. In 1979, she created a program that was unique in the nation called Gaining Assistance in Necessary Skills (GAINS). Lois realized that stroke survivors could not easily participate at the senior centers, but they needed a center where they could enjoy activities within the scope of their abilities. The GAINS program provided therapies and activities that encouraged participants to maximize their physical and cognitive abilities. The GAINS program evolved into the Adult Day Services program we offer today, serving over 50 participants each day, with a range of disabilities, including stroke, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease.
After a decade of operation, Lois saw that meeting the future needs of Clermont’s older citizens would require a significant growth in resources, and, once again, she had both a vision and a plan. Some told her it couldn’t be done, but, undaunted, Lois embarked on a mission to have the Ohio legislature pass a law that would permit Senior Service Levies to be placed on the ballot to support programs for older adults.
It took several years of lobbying and hard work, but in November 1982, Clermont passed Ohio’s first countywide Senior Services Levy. Again, Lois had planted a seed that would bear a great harvest. Other counties followed her lead, and today over 70 Senior Service Levies throughout Ohio generate more than $140 million dollars each year to provide community based care for older adults.
Nowhere is Lois’ impact more evident than in the lives of our employees. All employees share Lois’ compassion and dedication to provide Service with Heart each day. And, the same can be said of the force of volunteers serving the needs of Clermont County seniors every day. Today’s economic conditions have not deterred us from delivering quality services without waiting lists. That being said, we recognize that great challenges lie ahead as we prepare for an aging boomer generation. In looking to the future, our commitment to you, the citizens of Clermont County, is to stay focused on Lois’ vision of providing Service with Heart that is rooted in compassion, performance excellence and fiscal accountability.