TOMS RIVER – Home to almost 170,000 older Americans, Ocean County officials are recognizing how these citizens make up a vital part of the 33 towns that make up the County.
In celebration of Older Americans Month, the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders recently proclaimed May in honor of the month and acknowledged the many qualities seniors bring to the County.
“This month and throughout the year we want to highlight the importance of our older adult citizens as they take part in activities that promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being,” said Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari, Chairman of Senior Services. “It is a priority to provide resources to them and their families, and we encourage citizens to take advantage of our Office of Senior Services to learn more about what is available.”
While activities celebrating the month will be held throughout Ocean County at nutrition sites and other venues, the Office of Senior Services and Freeholder Vicari urge residents to attend a public hearing to determine the pressing needs of older adults who reside in Ocean County.
This year’s public hearing will be held from 10 a.m. to noon, May 23 at the Jackson Township Senior Center, 45 Don Connor Blvd., Jackson Township. It is conducted by the Office of Senior Services.
“The Ocean County Office of Senior Services serves as a focal point where older adults and their families can turn to for information regarding services and programs and this public hearing is an important step in the annual Area Plan process” Vicari said. “The Area Plan outlines our process for addressing the current and future needs of our seniors. It also assists in determining funding and the distribution of those funds.”
To confirm your attendance at the public hearing, contact the Ocean County Office of Senior Services at 732-929-2091, 1-800-668-4899 (In State Only) or 1-877-222-3737.
Vicari said holding the hearing during May fits nicely with this year’s Older Americans Month theme, which is “Engage at Every Age.”
“We want our seniors to be a part of the process,” Vicari said. “They are their own best advocates.”
This year’s theme also is intended to emphasize that you are never too old (or too young) to take part in activities that can enrich your physical, mental and emotional well-being.
For example, promoting home and community-based services that support independent living, involving older adults in community planning and events, and providing opportunities for older Americans to work, volunteer, learn, lead, and mentor are all ways to encourage them to be engaged.
“Ocean County is proud to be home to one of the largest senior populations in the country. Our seniors – many of whom are veterans and have served in many conflicts throughout our history – bring so many special qualities to life in Ocean County,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little, who serves as liaison to the Veterans Services Bureau. “This month we celebrate their lifelong accomplishments and recognize them for all they do.
“No matter where you are in your life, there is no better time than now to engage in the most beneficial ways possible,” Little said.
Ocean County Office of Senior Services offers a host of opportunities throughout the county to enrich the lives of individuals through community-based services including options counseling and care management, community support such as education, recreation, physical and mental health screenings, and physical fitness.
“We want our seniors to be able to live independently, to be happy and healthy,” Vicari said. “Our programs provide a range of services starting with the newly retired and active senior to the more frail and needy.
“Whether you need help with getting meals, Medicare counseling or a means to get around, our Office of Senior Services can help,” he said. “Getting engaged is the first step.”