By Rick Palsgrove
Voters will decide on May 2 whether or not to approve a Senior Options levy.
The five year levy, first passed in 1992, raises approximately $46 million annually.
The current senior levy costs the owner of a $100,000 home $39.70 per year, according to Franklin County Office on Aging Director Antonia Carroll. The new levy would increase this by $15.75 per year for a total annual cost of $55.45.
The current levy expires at the end of 2017 and the new levy, if approved, would run until 2022.
According to information from the Franklin County Office on Aging, if the levy passes, it’s projected 10,000 seniors age 60 and over would receive Senior Options services in home and community based care, 30,000 seniors would receive services in the community support and outreach area, and more than 25,000 seniors would be assisted by the referral program.
“The levy funding supports a 3 percent annual increase in seniors served through the life of the levy. The typical recipient is a female, aged 75 plus, who lives alone,” said Carroll.
Carroll said there are more than 85 agencies providing services to Franklin County Senior Options clients. Thirty area non-profits provide a variety of services through 44 grant projects that help seniors live independently in the community. The senior services levy is the sole funder of Franklin County Senior Options.
The kinds of services the levy pays for, include: home delivered meals, transportation, light housekeeping, personal care, respite care, adult day health, emergency response systems, case management, information and referral, congregate meals, assistance with prescription drug costs, hearing assessments, small group transportation, and several other grants to private non-profits, according to Carroll, who added the people who receive these services are Franklin County residents age 60 and older who have a demonstrated need for a service that the senior levy provides.
“Seniors and their families have a very strong preference for remaining at home and avoiding institutional care for as long as possible,” said Carroll.
She said keeping seniors at home is much less costly than having to use institutional care.
“The availability of services that help seniors remain safely at home is a valuable asset for Franklin County,” said Carroll. “These services support not only the seniors, but also the caregivers and family members who care for them. There is no other resource available to provide these needed services if the senior levy fails on May 2.”
According to Carroll, if the levy fails there is no other funding source and Senior Options would shut down.
“Seniors would lose over 650,000 home delivered meals, over 2 million miles of transportation, and over 116,000 hours of light housekeeping each year,” she said.