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Cooperative agreement to benefit seniors

At the Sept. 5 county meeting, Lisa Bretz, executive director for the Area Agency on Aging for North Florida, told commissioners AAANF has formed a cooperative agreement with two other organizations to streamline provision of services to county elders.

She said Liberty County Senior Citizens Association, currently the lead agency in coordination services to Franklin County seniors, will join forces with AAANF and the newly formed Elder Care Community Council of Franklin County (ECCC) to make sure no county senior slips through the crack for support services.

The cooperative has pledged to expand transportation support for seniors, increase community awareness of available services and support active living for older adults through physical, social and educational activities.

Liberty County will continue to provide Meals on Wheels (MOW) on the county’s east end, but in Apalachicola and the surrounding area most senior services will be based in Holy Family Senior Citizens Center, 203 Dr. Frederick S. Humphries Street.

Currently, MOW for the western portion of the county is staged out of the Coombs Armory, but Bretz said the cooperative is hopeful these services can soon be returned to Holy Family.

Bretz said ECCC is coordinating a number of services at Holy Family including daily lunches and enrichment activities like bingo.

Bonnie Fulmer, president of ECCC, said her organization has obtained use of a van donated to the city for senior transport.

Under the new cooperative agreement, ECCC, together with Liberty County and AAANF, will continue to provide needed services to older adults in the county and increase access to services provided to elders, with special attention to the socially and economically disadvantaged through use of social media and advertising. They will seek community input on the needs of seniors.

The ultimate goal of the cooperative is to develop a coordinated system of services to maximize resources and limit duplication of effort.

Pivotal to the success of the cooperative agreement is publication of the Elder Helpline: 1-800-963-5337, which provides one-stop shopping for senior services provided through many organizations.

ECCC will provide AAANF with a brief summary of activities on a quarterly basis to be presented to the county commissioners.

Bretz said the cooperative does not provide for funding for seniors programs, but said that resources are being sought. She told commissioners ECCC provides a wealth of services to county seniors, and that since it has no paid staff, all money awarded the organization goes towards services.

Under the new agreement, Liberty County will have representatives in Carrabelle, Lanark, Eastpoint, Alligator Point, St. George Island, and Apalachicola; and will develop a volunteer support program, ensure lunch meals are served daily at Holy Family, and develop programs to meet the needs of seniors in the county.

They also will continue to provide access to programs including Community Care for the Elderly; Home Care for the Elderly; Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative; Older Americans Act services including MOW; Emergency Home Energy Assistance for the Elderly and Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders.


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