South Arkansas Center on Aging

The South Arkansas Center on Aging was the first center established with Tobacco Settlement funding. The most popular programs are Tai Chi, Healthy Cooking and Discussions with the Doctor. Counting all of their various programs, the SACOA had more than 15,000 educational encounters over the past two years. They also had a very busy senior health clinic where they had more than 11,000 visits.

In 2009, SACOA expanded its programs addressing mind, body and spirit when it received a $30,000 grant from the King Foundation to initiate a tai chi program for older adults in South Arkansas. SACOA’s tai chi program lets participants set their own pace of gentle exercise and stretching, performing each position slowly and with much grace.

Healthy Cooking is offered in two counties with a request from four other counties to begin the program when funding allows. “Discussions with the Doctor” educates older adults of South Arkansas in Union and Columbia Counties, with local doctors giving of their time and talent to educate our communities.

In May 2009, the South Arkansas Symphony performed at the First Financial Symphony on the Square, playing songs from the Big Band era as well as patriotic music and Broadway show tunes. The Senior Symphony, which offered older adults an opportunity to enjoy music of all types, resulted from a partnership of the South Arkansas Symphony, First Financial Bank and SACOA. The first performance, which was in the afternoon at Westside Baptist Church, included a reception for the South Arkansas Symphony musicians and those senior adults attending the event. That evening, the Symphony played on the east lawn of the Union County Courthouse in El Dorado to honor veterans with an armed forces salute.

SACOA leveraged $107,058 in funding, volunteer time

committed and in-kind resources in 2008 and 2009.

SACOA Counties
his center serves eight counties in south Arkansas: Ashley, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Columbia, Dallas, Ouachita and Union.