COA launches online survey

CASSOPOLIS — Having had its doors closed to the public since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cass County Council Aging is taking time to evaluate its services.

The COA recently launched an online survey for patrons to offer feedback on programming and services. The survey, which creators said would take less than five minutes to complete, contains questions such as how often do you usually come to the COA, how interested are you in particular programs, how can the COA be in improved, among many others. The survey will remain open on the COA’s website indefinitely at casscoa.org/survey.

“We have the time now to rethink services and look at what are people utilizing and what are only one or two people are coming to,” said Kelli Casey, director of community development at the COA. “We are just trying to gather information, so we created a survey to see what everyone wishes we had, what they think we are doing great and what they think we can improve upon.”

So far, Casey said the COA had received a positive response to the survey. Though she said she was somewhat surprised by some of the respondents’ level of honesty, Casey said each survey has provided valuable insight to the COA’s staff, such as some visitors have food allergies or did not know the COA offered a wide range of wellness programs and activities.

“We are reading each and every one,” Casey said. “We are doing the numbers and seeing what the best responses are and seeing where people think we could improve. It’s all really good information to know.”

Though the COA’s programming is aimed toward senior citizens, Casey said she would encourage any Cass County resident to take the survey as many aspects of the COA are open to people of all ages and county tax dollars support the organization.

“We want to reach everyone in the community, so I would encourage everyone to take it,” she said. “It would be nice to have something out there for everybody. Yes, we focus on seniors, but we are open to everybody, and this is something we have come up with to reach all age groups.”

In addition to launching the online survey, COA staff have been looking at other ways to serve the public during the COVID-19 shutdown. While Meals on Wheels and in-home care services are still running, the COA’s social activities and programs have been put on hold. Since the extension of the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, Casey said staff have been evaluating whether some services, such as a book club or the pen pal program, can be hosted virtually from home. One at-home activity that has proven to be successful is a recently launched Trivia with Jennifer Quail, a trivia quiz created by Quail, a Dowagiac Jeopardy contestant. The quiz can be found on the COA website.

“We are still on hold with our programs, but we are looking forward to addressing some of them if we are able to,” Casey said.