By Sue Moore
Residents of Kalamazoo County in 2018 approved a tax for senior services that will raise nearly $3 million annually for six years. Distribution of the revenue has been assigned to the Kalamazoo County Health and Human Services department. The Area Aging Agency IIIA region is the service agency for senior citizens in the county and charged with setting priorities for using this money wisely.
The agencies has scheduled public meetings and has compiled an online survey for seniors, caregivers and professionals to help target their efforts in the coming years. “It’s a chance for seniors to be heard,” said Samantha Carlson, older adult services director. “The information gleaned will guide us in program creation, enhancement and expansion.”
Eleven million Americans, the fastest growing segment of the American population, are over age 80, according to author Louise Aronson in her book “Elderhood”. In Kalamazoo County, approximately 21 percent of adults are over 60 according to the latest census figures. This means there is a greater need for services for this aging population than ever before. What services are most needed? That is a question the agency wants to answer. The answers will help administrators use the money, the agency contends.
“This is an invitation for all Kalamazoo County residents to voice their perspective, opinion, and needs pertaining to our older adult residents,” Carlson said. On February 5, South County Community Services will hold a community forum to gather information. After that, the survey may be taken online at: http://tinyurl.com/KalamazooCNA. They also welcome individuals to print and complete the surveys if they are unable to complete it online. The document can be found at the county’s website: https://www.kalcounty.com/hcs/aaa/.