County To Approve $2.6 Million In Senior Services

The Ocean County Administration Building. (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

TOMS RIVER – It’s been said that Ocean County has such a high density of seniors, that the only place in the country with more is Florida.

This creates a unique demand for senior services. A network of support services has grown to take care of these needs. There are 22 governmental and nonprofit agencies answering the call, according to a press release from the county. On Jan. 16, the Ocean County Freeholders are expected to award 37 contracts, totaling $2.6 million in projects.

“Close to 1,100 meals are currently prepared daily and distributed to homebound seniors as well as the seven congregate meal sites located throughout our County,” Freeholder Joseph Vicari said. “We operate one of the largest senior nutrition programs in the state. There is no wait list in Ocean County for this program. No senior in Ocean County goes hungry.”

The access point to many of these programs is the office of Senior Services. Last year, staff there responded to 6,500 callers and walk-ins, and more than 47,000 visits were made to the office’s website: co.ocean.nj.us.

“Our programs cover all stages of aging from the newly arrived senior who benefits from Medicare counseling, educational programs, and health screenings to the older more frail individual who receives a home delivered meal or a visit from a home health aide,” Vicari said. Other support areas to be funded include transportation, legal services, caregiver services, social and recreational activities, benefits options counseling, mental health support and other community based initiatives.   “We expect to serve close to 33,000 older residents and their families in 2019,” Vicari said.