Issue 4 seeks replacement levy to assist area’s elderlyWritten by Kristen Criswell | | email@example.com
The Area Office on Aging (AOoA) is seeking a .45 mills replacement levy, Issue 4, in the Nov. 3 election. Due to the economic climate, the AOoA opted for a replacement levy instead of a renewal.
“The important thing voters need to know is that it’s a replacement. The levy is not a new tax,” said Billie Johnson, AOoA president and CEO.
The AOoA serves ten counties in Northwest Ohio, however, the levy dollars will only go to services in Lucas County.
The current levy expires Dec. 31, 2009. If the new levy passes it will run from January 2010 to December 2015. The replacement levy will bring in a total of $3.8 million to $3.9 million a year over a five-year time span. The tax will cost voters the same as the previous tax at $13.78 annually for a $100,000 home.
“We just think that so little does so much. We’ve already taken a 40 percent cut from state funding. We need this levy passed,” Johnson said.
The levy funds services for people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and their caregivers; meals to homebound and frail elderly; health care services to help Lucas County senior citizens remain independent and at home; medical transportation; outreach and chore services; as well as funding 13 senior centers across Lucas County. Between 2005 and 2009, more than 33,400 Lucas County seniors participated in levy-funded programs.
Henry Stoklosa and his wife have a variety of health problems that make cooking and day-to-day living more difficult.
Their children are already assisting them with daily activities, but Henry said he doesn’t want to become a burden on them. Each week, the Stoklosas receive meals from the organization.
“It’s a blessing. I can go home today, tomorrow and the day after that and know that I can get three full meals a week, thanks to this operation, and so can my wife,” Henry said.
On average, 2,511 seniors received noontime meals at 21 locations, and 1,899 seniors had meals delivered to their home per year over the course of the levy.
Nancy Dissett-Whitehead and her husband became caregivers for her father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, when her mother passed away in 2007. Dissett-Whitehead’s father didn’t know how to put on his shoes, had inconsistent behavior and suffered from bizarre hallucinations. The 24-hour care caused strain on Dissett-Whitehead’s husband and her relationship as well as their work.
Dissett-Whitehead’s father seemed uninterested in anything and was passive most of the day.
In 2008, Dissett-Whitehead’s father started attending the day care center once a week and now attends the center five days a week. Dissett-Whitehead is grateful to the center not only for the break it gave her and husband, but for the improvement in attitude it has given her father.
“The day care center has given my husband and I a life again, while aspects of our father’s previous personality have returned,” Dissett-Whitehead said. “The unit has done so much stimulating to bring his personality back out. He has a purpose in life again. He still needs constant care, but now if you were to come to the house, he’d say, ‘Hi, how are you? Come sit down.’ He wouldn’t do those things before.”
The Alzheimer Day Care provided 124 individuals more than 41,500 hours of care in 2008.
During the course of the past levy, 23,935 hours of care coordination, 20,881 hours of personal care, and 48,457 hours of house making took place. These services helped 850 seniors, keeping them in their own homes and out of nursing homes.
“We hope that the voters understand that we’ve done what we said we’d do with the levy dollars,” said Emilie Owens, vice president of home care options. “We’ve kept very little administrative money, only 8 percent, and all the rest goes directly to seniors. We really believe that the voters understand that and hopefully give us their vote.”
Visit the AOoA Web site at www.areaofficeonaging.com.
Tags: Area Office on Aging