A website launched just months ago is aiming to help families in Eastern Jackson County find reliable services of all types for local seniors.

A website launched just months ago is aiming to help families in Eastern Jackson County find reliable services of all types for local seniors.

The website, called Care Connection, was created by the Truman Heartland Community Foundation in partnership with the Mid-Continent Public Library, and was launched in April. It compiles a list of services for seniors offered by local businesses and is divided into categories such as moving assistance and adult day care, among others.

The push behind the idea came from a needs assessment, said Truman Heartland Foundation President Phil Hanson. The assessment found that the fastest growing demographic in the area is those who are over 85 years old.

“We wanted to provide a resource not only for seniors, but their children or caregivers,” Hanson said.

So far, the website, which was built by the Mid-Continent Public Library, has about 400 service listings.

Numbers aside, the project’s organizers found inspiration in their own experiences caring for older parents. Hanson himself used the website to find a local retirement home for his mother-in-law.

Foundation Board Member Cindy Cavanah, who spearheaded the project, had a similar experience in finding care for her father-in-law and also drew on the experiences of friends facing the same issues.

“I have a lot of friends now taking care of their parents, “she said. “We have a lot of similar conversations. I thought, ‘How nice would it have been to have a website to see how many nursing homes there are in Jackson County.’”

“It’s not so much about the 85-year-old trying to find a meal, as it is about the 85-year-old’s son or daughter trying to find them a meal,” she added.

The online platform not only allows for families to find local care for parents or loved ones, but it allows for those who live out of the area to organize reliable services without traveling. The foundation screens every listing submitted to make sure the business is legitimate.

Cavanah has been a member of the board for a year now, and initially saw the project as an exciting challenge, but also a learning experience. Having worked in a business background, she said the social work language of the project was new to her.

“I thought it sounded like something interesting and challenging and something that I could build from the ground up,” she said.

The website has had around 1,000 visitors since its launch in early April – a modest number that both Hanson and Cavanah hope will grow.

“I would hope in the next year we would be able to get some feedback,” Hanson said. “I hope it can continue to grow in the amount of information we have there.”

Hanson aspires for the number of listings to grow to at least 1,000 by the project’s first anniversary. If it is successful, he said, the foundation may expand the project into neighboring communities.

You can find the service at http://careconnection.mymcpl.org/