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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Butler Commissioners approve senior services levy for ballot

Elderly Services Program logo

Butler County Commissioners voted July 13 to place a senior services levy on the ballot in November. The 1.3-mill levy is a five-year renewal of the 2010 levy and represents no increase for taxpayers.

The levy provides more than 90 percent of the funding for the county’s Elderly Services Program (ESP). It also helps prevent elder abuse and scams against the elderly through support of Butler County Adult Protective Services and the county prosecutor.

Through services such as Meals on Wheels, homemaking help, and transportation, Butler ESP makes it possible for more than 3,800 Butler County seniors to remain in their homes with independence and dignity.

Butler ESP also makes a big difference for thousands of families who are caring for older loved ones. It helps working families keep mom and dad at home. It helps long-married spouses care for each other and stay together. And for those seniors who have no family nearby, it makes a difference in quality of life.

The typical client is a woman in her 80s, living alone and needing help to remain in her home. She does not qualify for Medicaid, but cannot afford to hire help. Without assistance from the county program, she might be forced to leave her home and move into a nursing home.

The program is a win-win for seniors and taxpayers. It costs an average $306 per month to help a senior on the Elderly Services Program. If that same person were in a nursing home on Medicaid, it would cost taxpayers 14 times that much – more than $4,000 a month.

Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio (COA) manages the program via a contract with county commissioners. COA also brings in federal funds which help support ESP and other services for Butler County seniors.

A volunteer organization, Butler County Citizens for Elderly Services, advises the program. LifeSpan, Inc., a longstanding local social services organization, provides screening and care management for ESP clients. Providers deliver the services, such as homemaking and transportation, via contracts with COA.

Without the levy, the program would end, but Butler County residents have long demonstrated their concern for seniors in need. Voters have supported the Senior Services Levy for nearly 19 years. For client stories, photos and more information, please visit www.helpourelderly.org.

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