Senior citizens voice 2010 State Plan concerns at public hearing

The Division of Aging Services is hosting public hearings for senior citizens to voice their concerns at all across Georgia

Southwest Georgians gathered downtown at the SOWEGA Council on Aging Center to give input for the Division of Aging Services (DAS) 2010 State Plan. Items discussed at the forum will be considered when making up the State Plan. DAS is visiting senior citizens across the state for their opinions.

"This is really important. It's a chance for the public to tell us what they like about what we do, what they don't like," says Executive Director of the SOWEGA Council on Aging Kay Hind.

The State Plan supports numerous services like Meals on Wheels, wellness programs, prescription delivery and even senior centers.

"It's simply saying what we anticipate we'll do, what programs we'll provide, how many people we think we'll serve. It's what we'll do with our money," says Hind.

Southwest Georgia citizens heavily discussed items such as more training for younger service assistants, education and wellness programs for seniors and marketing.

"Other persons who maybe don't know how to manipulate prices and do as well as I do think about that person who can't even count their money," says Helen Coates, who attended the public hearing. She says she supports educational programs for senior citizens. She also says programs need to teach seniors how to shop for groceries on a budget.

Alward says there are programs and services out there for seniors, but there just isn't enough publicity given to them.

"Older people that are in their homes alone or with a caregiver, they need more assistance and we're here for them but they're not aware of the services," says Alward.

Overall, Tuesday's forum received mixed reviews.

"I think it went really good. We had a lot of really fine comments. Some of the public was here and they told their concerns," says Brenda Alward, a registered nurse at the Alzheimer's Outreach Program.

Others weren't as pleased.

"It was ok. I just don't think we had enough time to really discuss everything that needs to be discussed," says Coates.

Coates says there's still a long way to go.

"It just hurts my heart to know we live in a country that everybody keeps saying is so great, which once I believe it was, but it's going to hell in a hand basket," Coates says.

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