Commission gives report to seniors |

Commission gives report to seniors

The El Dorado County Commission on Aging is responding to the needs of area seniors in the 2001-2004 Area Plan for Senior Services.

The commission presented the APSS to a group of about 20 people at the South Lake Tahoe Senior Center June 21. The APSS was started in 1965 with the passage of the federal Older Americans Act. It provides services such as home-delivered meals, senior information and assistance, senior legal assistance, senior activities, and preventative health programs.

The plan was developed after a research campaign to determine the needs of El Dorado County seniors.

Debbie Johnston of El Dorado County Department of Community Services presented the results of the research at the June 21 meeting. She said the results indicate the greatest needs in the county for seniors are transportation, nutrition and access to information on area senior programs.

“The information that was sought through our research has become the foundation of some of our goals,” Johnston said. “We tried to be quite thorough to make sure we are not just looking through our eyes and I think we have a more complete analysis. It is important to target concerns but it is more important to understand why.”

Doug Nowka, director of the Area Agency on Aging said he is happy with the plan.

“I have been doing this for 21 years and this is the best plan we have ever had,” Nowka said.

The new plan will go into effect July 1. It outlines five goals to meet the needs of area seniors. They are: fostering community based service programs, advocating for affordable housing, providing transportation, integration of the services provided, and fostering health and wellness.

Nowka said the AAA hopes inform Latino seniors about the services available in the area. The AAA plans to provide informational fliers in Spanish and English to ensure all segments of society are aware of the services available to them.

“It has been our experience that we are not getting to the Latino Community like we need to,” Nowka said.

Fliers will be made available at churches, some doctors’ offices, grocery stores and the Senior Center. Fliers will also be handed out with the Meals on Wheels program.

“The number one barrier is lack of knowledge of services, in addition to finances and transportation,” Nowka said. “(The research) has provided a direction for us. Now we can translate these numbers into goals and objectives. We will hold ourselves accountable to the community to do so.”

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