Franklin County voters will have a say about the future of Franklin County Senior Options on Election Day.
A 1.3 mill senior services levy on the Nov. 6 ballot will fund Senior Options, a program dedicated to helping seniors remain independent.
Through the program, approximately 6,000 Franklin County residents over the age of 60 receive some kind of assistance.
“It’s really a community-based program,” said Janet Caldwell, communications manager for the Franklin County Office on Aging. “We keep older adults in their homes and not living in nursing homes or with other family members.”
The Franklin County Office on Aging projects that, in 2012, funding from the levy will provide about 550,000 home delivered meals, more than 1.3 million miles in transportation and approximately 18,000 days of adult day care.
According to Caldwell, the transportation provided through Senior Options is the only way for many older adults to get to the grocery store or to doctor’s appointments.
“The day care provides a safe place for seniors to be while loved ones are at work if they can’t stay alone,” she said. “Without it, those (working adults) would have to quit their jobs or make other arrangements.”
Senior Options provides some minor home repairs to ensure seniors are living in safe and healthy conditions.
The program also handles emergency response systems, homemaking and some investigations of abuse, neglect and exploitation.
More than 4,000 residents contact the program each month, either for services, referrals or other information.
Franklin County voters have approved the senior services levy every five years since 1992. The levy almost completely funds the program.
“Without, we close our doors,” said Caldwell. “It’s that extreme.”
Caldwell said the effects of shutting down the Senior Options program would be much more far-reaching than to just the seniors served and their families.
“The program contracts with nearly 100 other local companies and organizations to provide services. If we close, there would surely be some job loss with those groups, as well,” she said.
The levy also provides some funding for other community agencies to provide grants to organizations that benefit local seniors.
Voter approval of the levy assures the continuation of the program for another five years. It will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $39.81 per year.
According to Caldwell, this is a slight increase from the previous levy.
“There was an increase of about $12 per year,” she said, explaining that rising costs of things like food and fuel made the increase unavoidable.
“We feel very strongly that it’s still a really good value,” she added.
For information on the Franklin County Senior Services levy, or to find out how you can help, visit www.savesenioroptions.org.