Bay County Council on Aging senior programs.

Older adults in Bay County Florida can receive help from the Bay County Council on Aging organization. The non-profit works with clients and their caregivers to ensure that senior citizens in the region get the assistance they need. Services address basic needs, offer financial support, food and coordinate support to their family members too.

Caregiver Support is for individual who is an unpaid, informal provider of in-home or community care to the senior. It needs to be for a home-bound person over 60 years of age who requires constant attention.

The Bay County Council on Aging and its staff offer them support in many ways. The non-profit sponsors a caregiver support group which meets every other Friday at the Council on Aging office.

There are numerous benefits, including the Support Group offers caregivers the opportunity to share their difficulties with others from the community in similar situations. They can learn about regional resources, explore workable solutions and provide each other with much-needed support.

Financial help is from different resources as well. One example is the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This helps low income senior individuals and their households meet the high cost of heating and cooling by providing home energy and crisis payments. The only stipulation is the utility bill must be in the name of an elderly, income qualified person residing at the address. More information can be obtained by calling the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program main office at 769-3468. Applicants will need to schedule an appointment with a case worker.

WAP, or the Weatherization Assistance Program, also assists senior citizens in Gulf County. It will help low income clients with putting measures in place that can help make their homes more energy efficient. These dollar saving measures from Bay County Council on Aging can include:

  • Repairing or replacing doors and/or windows and installing solar window screens.
  • Additional caulking and lighting in the condo or home.
  • Fixing or replacing heating/cooling systems.
  • Replacing water heaters or refrigerators.
  • Adding, for free, extra insulation to floors, attic and sidewalls where needed.




These measures help conserve energy sources and lower utility bills. Eligibility for WAP is determined by total household income, with preference given to seniors. Other priority in Florida is for disabled persons and families with children under the age of 12. Dial 769-3468 for more details.

A so called senior watch program is known as Gatekeeper. These local volunteers/Gatekeepers are people in the community who are trained to recognize signs of needing help. They visit the elderly frequently and when they see a need, they contact the Bay County Florida Council on Aging. They are in effect making a referral for both an assessment of what is required and needed services.

The frail and elderly can look into Home Based Services. The program provides various forms of assistance for very old, frail, elderly persons so they can avoid institutionalization and continue to live independently in their own apartments or homes.

The following types of assistance may be provided for senior adults in their homes. Case Management services are provided to enable access to necessary programs. Homemaking will provide support with completing daily household tasks such as cleaning, laundry, and nearby shopping for needed supplies. Respite Services provide the person’s caregivers. It can in effect give them much needed relief from their continual 24/7 responsibility. Last is the Personal Care Services, which provide senior adults with personal hygiene assistance.

Referrals, Information and Outreach is widely available to clients from the aging center. This program provides information about available financial aid and social services for senior adults.

If the service needed is not available at BCCOA, a referral is made to another suitable, non-profit agency and follow-up contacts are made to ensure that the client has received the requested service. Outreach visits provide senior adults with the necessary assistance to apply to or access needed programs.





Food assistance is from the regional Nutrition Program. The aging office operates through almost 10 different Fellowship Centers and pantries located throughout Bay County Florida.

The program provides hot, nutritious meals 5 days a week to elderly residents aged 60 and over who enjoy fellowship and the job of being with other people. The Fellowship Centers provide exercise, recreation, games and education services as well as nutrition advice and information about services and programs available for senior adults.

Through the local Meals on Wheels program, dedicated volunteers deliver food items to homebound, elderly clients, age 60 and older, who are confined for health reasons. They need to be unable to prepare the meals on their own. Depending on the client’s location, the meals may be either hot or frozen and delivered either once a week or 5 days a week.

The volunteers who deliver the items also conduct a daily check with the senior adults to ensure that everything is okay.

All meals are approved by a registered dietician that works with Bay County Council on Aging. It will need to meet 1/3rd of the daily recommended allowance for a senior adult. While there is not a set fee for the service, donations to the program are encouraged and help to fund the Meals on wheels program.

Senior Centers offer many services. They are located at 1116 Frankford Avenue, Panama City, FL as well as 905 Pennsylvania Avenue, Lynn Haven, FL.

Among other services, they have Free Health screenings for senior adults, which include osteoporosis, eye health, hearing tests, diabetes and flu shots are available throughout the year.




Bay Transportation provides short range, door to door transportation services to and from the agency's Respite Center, congregate Meal Sites and agency program trips. The service helps senior adults who are transportation disadvantaged to remain mobile and self-sufficient.

Several other resources will be available as well. The Bay County Council on Aging center is at 1116 Frankford Ave., Panama City, Florida 3240. Or dial 850-769-3468.

By Jon McNamara

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