Obetz to survey the needs of its senior population

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By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

The Baby Boomer population is growing and communities like Obetz are taking notice and planning for services needed and desired by people in their mid-60s and older.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, estimates released in 2020 show the nation’s 65-and-older population has grown rapidly since 2010, driven by the aging of people born between 1946 and 1964. The 65-and-older population grew by over a third during the past decade, and by 3.2 percent from 2018 to 2019.

During a Jan. 25 Obetz Village Council meeting, village officials announced plans to survey its senior population on needs, wants, and senior programming and provide information about services beyond those offered by the village. Currently, the Obetz Community Center is closed to the public, but the village continues to operate its food pantry, senior meal deliveries twice a week, and senior transportation.

Transportation to doctor appointments and grocery deliveries is available by appointment only and only one person at a time is transported. Hot meals are delivered to the front door of senior citizens on Monday and Thursday. Prior to the pandemic, lunch was served on the same days at noon at the center.

Long-time Obetz resident Connie Callander said she has not taken advantage of senior programming at the community center, but would like to when the pandemic is over if she knows what was available and where and when it takes place.

“I need to know where I can find the information,” said Callander. “If it’s only on the website, then what would I do if I didn’t have a computer to look at the website? If the village publishes this information, where might I find it? When they send out our water bills, can they put the information on that?”

She said there is a real need for seniors to be made aware of what services are offered by the village of Obetz other than online and once the pandemic crisis passes, she feels there will be an increased need for opportunities to socialize.

“Socialization helps with mental stability,” said Callander, who moved with her family to Obetz in 1959 and returned to her family homestead in 1996. “I have found to keep a good mental life, we need to socialize on a regular basis.”

Callander also suggested the village provide a way for more multi-generational interaction, such as ways to connect young people looking to earn some extra money to do chores for the older generation.

“Whether it’s lawn mowing, snow removal or to pull weeds,” said Callander.

While services offered by Obetz are limited to village and Hamilton Township residents, the central Ohio area has many resources—including paramedicine offered by the Hamilton Township Fire Department—to help connect seniors with myriad services.

“As we get older, I am amazed at the programs that are available,” said Obetz Councilwoman Bonnie Wiley.

Hamilton Township residents needing follow-up care after a trip to the emergency department can find assistance through the fire department’s Community Paramedicine program, which provides short-term follow-up home visits for patients recently discharged from a hospital or emergency department until other providers are able to make a home visit or other follow-up care.

As a community paramedic, Capt. Wade Edwards contacts physicians, family, social services and programs such as Meals-on-Wheels for follow-up care. In working with sensitive patient information, Edwards reported the department is careful about HIPPA concerns and works closely with OhioHealth on the issue.

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission offers home energy efficiency (weatherization) and safety services at no cost to income-eligible residents to help keep them warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, all while lowering energy bills. The programs are available all year to Franklin County residents.

The Franklin County Office on Aging provides free transportation to older adults in COVID-19 Phase 1B who have scheduled a vaccination appointment. To arrange transportation, call 614-525-6200 between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. You must have a vaccine appointment scheduled prior to calling for transportation.

With the assistance of area providers, the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging arranges and coordinates services to help older adults with daily living, such as homemaking, transportation, home delivered meals, and personal care. COAAA offers education and resources to caregivers, professionals, and the public and advocates for programs and policies that benefit older adults and individuals with disabilities.

For information on Community Paramedicine, contact the fire department non-emergency number at 614-491-1050. For information on MORPC weatherization and safety services call 614-621-1171. Contact the COAAA at 1-800-589-7277 to learn about their services.

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