Seniors to give input |

Seniors to give input

South Tahoe seniors will get a chance this month to tell El Dorado County what they want in the way of services.

The El Dorado County Commission on Aging is holding a public meeting at the South Lake Tahoe Senior Center June 21 at 11 a.m. to gather input for the Area Plan for Senior Services for 2001 to 2005. The new plan will go into effect July 1.

“This is something that we do every four years,” said Doug Nowka, director of the Area Agency on Aging. “We develop a four-year plan in conjunction with the Commission on Aging to determine what the needs of the seniors are in El Dorado County. We’re fairly lucky in that we have a wide range of services available, but there are more services we could offer.”

The services are provided to seniors through the Older Americans Act of 1965 and include such things as home-delivered meals, senior information and assistance, senior legal assistance, senior activities, and preventive health programs.

Gary Moore, recreation supervisor for the South Lake Tahoe Senior Center, said seniors at Lake Tahoe enjoy more services than many areas, but agreed with Nowka that more could be provided.

“We have the structure in place,” Moore said. “Now what we are trying to do is fine-tune it and build on it. I feel as though through the last decade our community was very aggressive in addressing senior issues and we hopefully will continue to be aggressive and build. Specifically, where we need to go in the future and stay ahead of it, which is not going to be easy to do with the way the senior population is exploding.”

Moore sited affordable housing and better senior transportation in the Tahoe Basin as areas where senior services need improvement. He said South Tahoe is working to address the transportation issue through Trans-Sen.

Tran-Sen is a proposal put forward by the El Dorado County Commission on Aging to Caltrans for funding to purchase two alternative fuel vans for the Lake Tahoe Senior Center. If the proposal is approved for funding, Tran-Sen will provide Tahoe seniors with transportation around South Lake Tahoe and to Reno and Sacramento for medical visits and recreational outings. If the grant is approved, Moore said he expects the vans to be at the Senior Center by the spring of 2002.

“(Tran-Sen) will only be taking a target market of seniors and disabled,” Moore said. “There is a whole scope of issues on transportation in the basin and we are just part of that picture. We applied for two vans. We’d like to run one of them all the time through the community and we’d like to run the second one to Reno two or three days a week.”

The budget for the APSS’ upcoming fiscal year is expected to be about $1.5 million. Funds for the program are expected to come from the federal government, the state, the county and private donations.

“(The Older Americans Act) essentially provides federal funds that have to be matched by the state to provide services to people 60 and above to maintain their dignity, age in peace and provide a range of services,” Nowka said.

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