Ocean County Press Release
STAFFORD TOWNSHIP – With more than 173,000 older adults calling Ocean County home, senior services officials want input from the public on how best to address the needs of seniors.

"It's important we hear from our seniors and their caregivers to determine the needs of older adults living in Ocean County," said Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as Chairman of the Office of Senior Services. "Retirees are attracted to the quality of life in Ocean County. However, our seniors need specific services and programs as they age. Gathering their input helps us better assist them."

A public hearing on the needs of older adults in Ocean County has been scheduled for 10 a.m., May 9 at the Southern Ocean Medical Center, 1140 Route 72 West, Manahawkin. The hearing, conducted by the Ocean County Office of Senior Services, is open to seniors, caregivers and the general public.

"Our Office of Senior Services does a great job in addressing the needs of our seniors through a host of programs and services," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Virginia E. Haines. "Whether nutritional help, transportation services or outreach, hearing from our constituents is key to making sure our programs are meeting their ever-changing needs."

To confirm your attendance at the public hearing, contact the Ocean County Office of Senior Services at 732-929-2091 or 1-800-668-4899 (In State Only) or 1-877-222-3737.

"The Ocean County Office of Senior Services serves as a focal point where older adults and their families can turn for information regarding services and programs and this public hearing is an important step in the annual Area Plan process" Vicari said. "The Area Plan outlines our process for addressing the current and future needs of our seniors. It also assists in determining funding and the distribution of those funds."

Vicari said holding the hearing during May fits nicely with this year's Older Americans Month theme, which is "Connect, Create, Contribute."

"We want our seniors to be a part of the process. We want them to contribute," Vicari said. "They are their own best advocates."

For example, promoting home and community-based services that support independent living, involving older adults in community planning and events, and providing opportunities for older Americans to work, volunteer, learn, lead, and mentor are all ways to encourage seniors to be engaged whether during May or throughout the year.

"Ocean County is proud to be home to one of the largest senior populations in the country. Our seniors – many of whom are veterans and have served in many conflicts throughout our history – bring so many special qualities to life in Ocean County," Vicari said. "During the month of May we celebrate their lifelong accomplishments and recognize all of them for all they do.

"No matter where you are in your life, there is no better time than now to engage in the most beneficial ways possible," Vicari said.

Ocean County Office of Senior Services offers a host of opportunities throughout the county to enrich the lives of individuals through community-based services including options counseling and care management, community support such as education, recreation, physical and mental health screenings, and physical fitness.

Vicari noted that the county's senior nutrition program, which provides 1,100 meals a day to homebound seniors, is a lifeline for many elderly residents living alone.

"We want our seniors to be able to live independently, to be happy and healthy," Vicari said. "Our programs provide a range of services starting with the newly retired and active senior to the more frail and needy."

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