Many of us take for granted our ability to prepare a hot meal, or to bathe and get dressed. However, for frail or chronically ill seniors living in Franklin County these routine activities can’t be easily accomplished without help.
In Franklin County, Senior Options and the Senior Services Levy offer that helping hand. Senior Options is funded by the five- year Senior Services Levy, which is Issue 14 on the ballot Nov. 6.
Senior Options, administered by the Franklin County Office on Aging, helps Franklin County residents, age 60 and older, maintain their independence and support family members with the often-overwhelming task of caring for a frail older parent, family member, or friend with limited abilities.
Senior Options services can include: information and advocacy, case management, homemaker, medical transportation, adult day services, home delivered meals, minor home repair, personal care, emergency response systems, and respite care.
The Senior Services Levy also provides funding to support senior services offered by many organizations in Franklin County. These organizations include LifeCare Alliance, Alzheimer’s Association, The Breathing Association, Columbus Speech and Hearing Center, Heritage Day Health Centers, Isabelle Ridgway Care Center, Jewish Family Services and Northwest Counseling, to name a few.
One telephone number, 462-6200, links seniors and their family members to a case manager who can answer questions, determine the current need, and initiate a plan for services.
Elizabeth (Betty) Snider and her daughter/caregiver, Jayne Reese, called this number six years ago and have been benefiting from it ever since.
In 2001, Ms. Snider was living in her own home when she realized that she may need some assistance with maintaining her independent lifestyle. Her daughter suggested that they learn about what services were offered for senior citizens in the area. Through research and word-of-mouth, they discovered Senior Options.
Ms. Snider and her daughter contacted the program and were immediately linked with a Senior Options Case Manager. With her wealth of information, Ms. Snider was able to connect with the valuable community services that she was in need of.
"My mother’s Case Manager was fantastic and helped us find out what services were out there," Mrs. Reese said. "She was able to receive home delivered meals, meal replacement drinks, a shower chair, and a walker."
Although Ms. Snider moved in with her daughter and son-in-law a year after enrolling in Senior Options, she found that, not only did she continue to use most of the same services, but also she registered for two additional services: the adult day service program and the emergency response system.
Mrs. Reese raves about both services and explains that they ensure that she and her husband are able to maintain their busy lifestyles.
She said, "The Emergency Response System allows my husband to go and do yard work outside, knowing that my mother is safe inside."
The passage of Issue 14 on Nov. 6 will continue the helping hand that so many struggling seniors and their families count on daily. If the levy does not pass, more than 5,100 senior citizens and their families, like Betty Snider and Jayne Reese, will lose their services.
Carly Shugarman is communications assistant for the Franklin County Office on Aging.