New County Report Shows Few Douglas Residents Using Senior Services
Free of charge, Allegan County provides a number of services to seniors including adult day care, home delivered meals, in-home supports, personal emergency response systems, and transportation.
The troubling aspect, however, is that not enough Douglas residents are taking advantage of those services, Douglas City Council members said during Monday’s meeting.
Services are funded by county taxpayers in the form of a senior millage.
“It’s good the services are available. It’s sad to know we are not taking advantage of them,” said Douglas Council Member Greg Harvath.
He was referring to the third-quarter services overview report (July through September 2013) by the Allegan County Senior & Veteran Services showing very few seniors from the Douglas community make use of the services.
“They (the county staff) don’t make it easy for the people in the lakeshore to participate. I think that is part of the problem,” explained Douglas Mayor Pro Tem Martha Hoexter.
To get reliable service one has to go the county administration building because calling in is a big hassle, she said.
“You are lucky if you get a human being to talk to. It really is concerning and disconcerting,” she said.
The recent county overview report showed no Douglas seniors taking advantage of adult day care while at the county-wide level there were 30 seniors that did.
Additionally, only two seniors from Douglas - versus the countywide 246 seniors - took advantage of home delivered meals, a program offering “hot and other nutritious meals delivered to homebound senior citizens for lunch and/or supper,” states the report.
Another available service called “in-home support” assists people with such tasks as homemaking, laundry, meal preparation or personal care such as bathing.
Currently there is a wait list for this service with six seniors in the Douglas community participating along with 297 seniors throughout the county.
Clients can also be provided with emergency response buttons to get help in case of falls or other emergencies as well as transportation to medical and legal appointments, shopping and social events.
“In 2011, Senior Services combined forces with Veteran Services to provide one point of service to clients.
“Veteran Services Counselors provide assistance with compensation and pension claims, VA (Veteran Affairs) Healthcare, education assistance, burial compensation and other VA programs,” the reports states.
For information on available services and eligibility for seniors the number is (269) 673-3333 and for veteran services, (269) 673-0501. The toll free number for both is (877) 673-5333.