Seniors give COA top satisfaction rating

Monday, February 6, 2012

Nearly 100 percent of seniors who use in-home and community programs administered by Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio reported satisfaction with their services in 2011, according to data compiled by the Ohio Department of Aging.

The department recently released results of its 2011 customer satisfaction survey in which consumers gave Ohio`s 12 Area Agencies on Aging a better-than 99 percent approval rating. Council on Aging is one of these 12 regional agencies and serves residents of Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton, and Warren counties. Council on Aging received a rating of 99.6 percent.

"Time and time again we hear from older adults and their families how much they value services that make the difference between staying in their own homes or going to a nursing home," said Council on Aging CEO Suzanne Burke. "Together with our provider network, we are proud to serve the seniors of our region. It`s wonderful to have this evidence that that they not only appreciate the services but also the manner in which we provide them."

Seniors on the PASSPORT in-home care program were asked, among other questions, whether the services meet their needs, whether their concerns are dealt with promptly, and whether they would recommend the program to others.

Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) were created by the Older Americans Act of 1965. The Act directs AAAs to advocate for and to serve older Ohioans, their families, and caregivers.

AAAs -- which serve all 88 Ohio counties -- are a "front door" to services for seniors and adults with disabilities. They are a source of unbiased information and also assess the needs of people seeking long-term care. They provide care management for older adults enrolled in programs such as PASSPORT, which provide home-delivered meals, medical transportation and many other services designed to help older adults remain independent in their homes. The AAAs also fund elder rights, wellness, prevention, education and respite programs offered by other organizations. Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio also administers the Elderly Services Program, which is funded by county tax levies.

In 2011, Council on Aging received nearly 24,000 inquiries at its call center about help for seniors and adults with disabilities and 20,600 COA clients in five counties received in-home and assisted living services designed to help them stay independent and out of nursing homes. This help included 1.9 million home-delivered meals and 2.2 million hours of in-home services such as housekeeping and personal care.

At a Feb. 3 meeting in Dayton held by the Ohio Office of Health Transformation to gather input about Ohio`s long-term care waivers, PASSPORT clients said the program was vital to their independence.

"I have a wonderful care manager," said Mamie Jackson, of Cincinnati. "I have home-delivered meals, medical transportation, and adult day care. Everything is working just fine and it allows me to be at home with my son who is very ill and believe it or not, I help take care of him."