Nevada’s Neal Center resumes indoor dining, recreation for older adults

Nevada’s Neal Center has resumed indoor recreational opportunities and dining after more than a year of closure because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After a “soft opening” to work out glitches, the center is welcoming adults 60 and older to dine indoors without masks, according to Mike Parson, Coordinator of the center at 301 N. Main. The center is open from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Folks who need transportation to the center may call OATS 1-800-276-6287 to arrange a ride. The center reopened for limited dining in early June.

“The people that I have spoken to in the community are excited,” Parson said. “I am excited to be able to see the socialization among the seniors. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a lot of depression in seniors.”

Lunch will be served from 11 am. to 11:45 a.m. and again from noon to 12:45 p.m. Monday through Friday on a first-come, first-served basis. The meals are provided for people 60 and older for a donation. In addition to lunch, the center is offering card games and billiards daily, crafts at 10 a.m. Tuesdays and bingo Thursdays and Fridays at 9:30 a.m.

For now, the center still offers curbside pickup of meals for those who are not ready to dine in. Parson said people may call the center at 417-667-5847 to arrange pickup. The center also delivers about 100 meals a day to the homebound.

Center guests will notice fewer tables than before, as well as a request for social distancing when they are in line for their meals. While the mandatory use of masks and temperature taking have been halted, visitors, staff and volunteers still will be requested to answer health questions about COVID-19 exposure or symptoms.

“We are looking for what is going to be a new norm,” Parson said. “We will be observing protocols and providing sanitizer for our guests.”

Vernon County Care Manager Artricia Lowry will be at the center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  Older adults and caregivers may call 417-279-5138 for appointments. Lowry can connect older adults with benefits and answer a variety of questions on topics ranging from Medicare and property tax rebates to housing and family caregiving.

Staff and volunteers will be required to wear masks while clients are in the building. Home-delivered meal drivers will be required to wear masks, sanitize hands between clients, and stay socially distanced during the delivery of meals.

The Neal Center is one of 21 locations operated by Care Connection for Aging Services in 13 West Central Missouri counties: Bates, Benton, Carroll, Cedar, Chariton, Henry, Hickory, Johnson, Lafayette, Pettis, Saline, St. Clair, and Vernon. The mission is to provide opportunities to create positive aging experiences. For more information, visit or call 1-800-748-7826.