Small Town News


People are living longer, Meals on Wheels a necessity in rural areas

Mouse River Journal of Towner, North Dakota

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Helen Hayes MacArthur (nee Brown) (October 10, 1900 — March 17, 1993) was an American actress whose career spanned almost 80 years. She eventually garnered the nickname First Lady of American Theatre and was one of twelve people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award (an EGOT). She is also quoted as saying, "If you rest, you rust."

Longer lifespans and a desire to remain productive and connected already has begun pushing the number of older workers higher. Who is an older worker? According to Cynthia Roth, "The United States government, through the Age Discrimination in Employment (ADEA), applies the term 'older worker' to employees over the age of 40. When we consider that all baby boomers reached age 40 in 2004 and are continuing to age, the pool of older workers will only continue to increase."

There is an accelerating interest in wanting and needing to work later, with career sites and organizations for seniors and older workers reporting a surge in job-hunting efforts. Take a trip around McHenry County. The average of principal farm operators is 55 years old. (

According to, in 2006 there were 73 recipients of SSI in McHenry County. SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. Social Security administers this program. The US pays monthly benefits to people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. Blind or disabled children may also get SSI. Of the 73 recipients of SSI in McHenry County, 62 are blind and disabled recipients with 21 of them older than 64. Therefore, it is nearly impossible for these individuals to survive on SSI since the monthly maximum Federal amounts for 2015 are $733 for an eligible individual or $1,100 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse (a family of two.) The monthly amount of benefits is reduced by subtracting monthly countable income. Every state except Arizona, Mississippi, North Dakota, and West Virginia currently pays a state supplement to its disabled residents who receive SSI.

It is obvious that an individual living on SSI in McHenry County needs financial assistance. That is where programs such as Meals on Wheels can make the difference between paying for necessary living requirements and a daily meal.

Every human being possesses an inherent worth and dignity simply in virtue of being human. Each person must possess a value which commands respect. The professional serving of a nutritious meal or a delivery of tasty, hot meal on a cold autumn day, is an acknowledgement of human rights which belong to that person. The Tri-County Senior Meals provides meaning to those who participate in the program and provides a social role to those involved in the planning, administration, delivery and participation in the program.

Yasutaro Koide was born March 13, 1903 and lives in Japan. He is the currently oldest living man. Susannah Muschatt Jones, the oldest living female was born July 6, 1899 and lives in the United States. The Census Bureau predicts that the United States will have 5.3 million people aged over 100 in 2100. Maintaining our Towner Site for Meals on Wheels is one of the essential necessities for a healthy future. The Towner Site is part of the Tri-County Senior Meals. Virginia Rostad, Towner, can be reached at 701-537-5492 for more information. Myrna Muffenbier, 125 S Main Ave, Rugby, ND 58368 is the Tri-County contact. She can be reached at 701-776-5998 or emailed at

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Original Publication Date: September 23, 2015

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