Senior levy on ballot

The Franklin County Senior Services levy will expire at the end of the year unless voters approve Issue 14, a five year, .9 mill replacement levy on Nov. 6.

The levy provides money to local non-profit agencies to support programs designed to meet the needs of Franklin County’s senior citizens. It helps fund the programs and services of Senior Options, which provides services to more than 5,000 older adults per month, including: Meals on Wheels, personal care, adult day services, home repair, and medical transportation.

The Senior Services levy would cost the homeowner of a $100,000 home $27.56 a year, or around 7.5 cents a day.

"If the levy fails, they (seniors) will lose services and there are few, if any, other options available to replace what would be lost," said Carly Shugarman, communications assistant for the Franklin County Office on Aging, who noted that thousands of seniors would lose their home delivered meals, medical transportation or adult day services if the levy is rejected.

Shugarman stated Franklin County Senior Options helps seniors remain independent and can often delay or prevent the need for nursing home placement.

The loss of levy funds would place a burden on families, said Shugarman.

"It (the levy) is important for seniors, their families and their care givers," said Shugarman.

According to levy supporters, without Senior Options, Franklin County seniors would lose more than:

•498,000 home delivered meals.

•1 million miles of transportation.

•19,000 days of adult day health care, which includes more than 1,000 baths for frail seniors whose families cannot bathe them at home.

•21,000 hours of assistance with personal care needs like bathing and hair washing.

•50,000 hours of respite care, which gives relief to family members.

•95,000 hours of light housekeeping service.

According to Franklin County Senior Options:

•More than 40,000 Franklin County residents age 60 and older have disabilities and need help with routine daily tasks like bathing, cooking and cleaning.

•Some help from Senior Options is often enough to make it possible for a struggling family to keep an elderly loved one at home.

•The average service cost for a Senior Options participant is about $200 a month. Nursing homes currently average over $4,000 a month.

Local transportation assistance

Senior Options also provides additional funds to locally funded senior transportation programs.

According to Groveport Community Affairs Director Linda Haley, Senior Options supplies $19,175 towards the Groveport-Madison Township Senior Transportation Program, which provides transportation for residents of the village of Groveport and unincorporated areas of Madison Township.

The Canal Winchester Senior Transportation Program received grants from Senior Options for the past two years, according to Penny Miller of Canal Winchester Human Services.

"The current grant is approximately $8,500," said Miller. "Being supported by this funding is very important to the overall program. It has allowed us to improve the program we already had and it has afforded us the opportunity to expand the program in the future.  Thanks to the funding we are currently receiving, we are able to provide free transportation to all seniors, age 60 and over, who live in our district."

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