Elderly Services renewal levy to be on November ballot

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Elderly Services Program client
Ruby, left, a client of the Warren County Elderly Services Program, is grateful for help from the program and her Care Manager, Shirley.

A renewal of the Warren County tax levy that provides services to help seniors stay in their homes will be on the November ballot. Warren County commissioners approved a resolution earlier this year affirming the need for the levy and agreeing to place it on the ballot for November 8.

The 1.21-mill, five-year levy will be a flat renewal and will not increase taxes. The cost to homeowners for 2017 is anticipated to be $34.18 per $100,000 of property value – $1.40 less than they pay now.

The levy provides about 90 percent of the funding for Warren County’s Elderly Services Program. The program serves 2,500 seniors (age 60 and older) annually, providing basic, but critical services such as home-delivered meals, medical transportation, help with housekeeping and bathing, adult day services and more.

“I am proud of the support Warren County voters have shown for this levy for 14 years,” said Warren County Commissioner Pat South, who is serving as honorary chairperson for the campaign. “It can make the difference between staying at home or being in a nursing home. It also helps families care for their older loved ones. It helps spouses care for each other and stay together. And it makes a big difference in quality of life for frail seniors who have no family nearby to help them."

To be eligible, individuals must live in Warren County, be age 60 or older, and be unable to perform certain daily activities without help. Services increase or decrease as a client’s needs change. About one-third of clients qualify to make a monthly co-payment to help cover their costs.

The program serves seniors living throughout the county in more than 20 different communities and is available to all eligible residents of the county. The top six locations are Lebanon, Mason, Franklin, and Deerfield, Turtle Creek and Franklin townships.

Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio (COA) manages the program via a contract with county commissioners. COA is a non-profit organization designated as the Area Agency on Aging for Warren County and four other counties in southwestern Ohio. COA brings in federal funds which help support the Elderly Services Program and also provides other in-home care services for Warren County seniors.

A volunteer organization, Warren County Citizens for Elderly Services, advises the program. Warren County Community Services, Inc., a longstanding local social services organization, provides screening and care management for the program’s clients. Providers deliver the services, such as homemaking and transportation, via contracts with Council on Aging.

Client enrollment continues to grow. Miami University’s Scripps Gerontology Center projects that Warren County’s proportion of residents age 60+ will increase from 18 percent to 21 percent over the next four years. According to projections, in 2020, nearly 5,000 of these individuals will have physical and/or cognitive disability. Of these, about one in four will have incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. This indicates a need for the community to help support their care.

Voters have shown strong support for the levy, approving it every time it has appeared on the ballot since the program began in 2002. Without the levy, the program would end and there is no other local program that could fill in.

Help Our Elderly, the campaign for the levy, will have an information table and volunteers at the Warren County Fair on Senior Day, July 18.

For more information, visit www.helpourelderly.org and read the 2015 annual report for the Warren County Elderly Service Program.