Ocean freeholders providing many services for seniors

Programs ranging from meals on wheels to caregivers’ services will continue to be provided by the Ocean County Department of Senior Services in 2011.

“Our seniors deserve these comprehensive and diverse services to ensure that they can enjoy the best possible quality of life,” Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari said.

Services including outreach to the homebound elderly, friendly volunteer visitors, telephone reassurances, health screening and education are all included in the contracts that were scheduled to be approved by the Board of Freeholders during its Jan. 19 meeting. The 36 competitive contracts total more than $2.3 million. The meals on wheels and congregate meal programs are expected to deliver more than 317,600 meals to senior citizens in 2011, Vicari said.

The nutrition program awards to Community Services Inc. were approved earlier, and the Kosher Home Delivered Meals were among the contracts up for approval on Jan. 19.

“These meals are often a lifeline for the frail and disabled, bringing not only nutritional value, but also social contact,” Vicari said. “About 60 percent of home-delivered meals clients are at high nutritional risk.”

According to a press release, other contracts include transportation, legal services, caregiver services, care management, benefits screening, chore services and a host of others.

“More than a quarter of Ocean County’s population is over the age of 60, including more than 75,000 people age 75 and older,” Vicari said. “Providing beneficial programs and services for the older adult population continues to be a priority for the Ocean County Board of Freeholders.”

The Office of Senior Services serves as a clearinghouse, teaming up seniors with programs that can help make a difference in their daily lives, Vicari said.

The office will oversee a total of 52 contracts with 22 governmental and nonprofit agencies in 2011, totaling more than $5.3 million.

This year, 536,411 units of service will be provided to 35,379 persons.

Access to information and assistance is a major focus for the Office of Senior Services, said D. Jane Maloney, director of the Ocean County Office of Senior Services.

For further information regarding services, call Office of Senior Services at 732- 929-2091 or 1-800-668-4899.