State Gives Ocean County Senior Services Perfect Rating
Toms River–For the second consecutive year, the Ocean County Office of Senior Services has received the highest marks possible in a recent on-site assessment conducted by the state of New Jersey.
“Ocean County has the largest senior population in the state and we provide our seniors with the best possible programs and services,” said Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari, Chairman of Senior Services. “This assessment just confirms that Ocean County does the best job possible when it comes to our older residents; I am very proud of the outcome.”
According to the state Department of Human Services, Division of Aging Services, the Ocean County Office of Senior Services scored 80 out of 80 meeting all of the performance standards.
“The Ocean County Office of Senior Services (Area Agency on Aging/AAA) continues to do an exemplary job in administering a comprehensive, accessible system of community-based services to the elderly in Ocean County,” according to the state report. “Through networking with community partners, collaborative efforts with 22 providers administering 52 contracts throughout Ocean County, extensive Outreach, Information and Assistance and Advocacy, the Ocean AAA is achieving its mission of ‘Leading the Way in Advancing the Well-Being of Ocean County’s Older Citizens’.”
Vicari said that Ocean County continues to have the largest percentage of seniors of any county in the state and ranks high in the nation. Ocean County’s population of 65 plus is 21 percent compared to New Jersey’s, which is 13.5 percent.
Florida is the number one state for residents 65 and over with 17.5 percent. The segment growing the fastest in Ocean County is those seniors who are 85 years old and older, he said.
“Each year Ocean County meets the growing demands of an aging population,” Vicari said. “From our nutrition sites to home delivered meals to the outreach we do.”
According to the state report “Overall excellence in operations included: staff training; oversight, technical assistance and privacy agreements for service providers;
Request for Proposals (RFP) process; organization of all documents; advisory council/provider meetings held at least quarterly with all required documentation; on- going consumer quality assurance; collaborative efforts to deliver transportation and other services to older adults; emergency preparedness and outreach to multiple cultures in the community”.
It was noted in the report that the Office of Senior Services continued to deliver services and programs to seniors in an exemplary way while implementing a number of new state reporting requirements. Vicari said “the staff never missed a beat in putting our residents first and making certain they were served in the best possible way; this speaks volumes of the professionalism and dedication found in our Office of Senior Services.”
The Board of Freeholders provides funding for a number of programs for seniors including congregate meals, home delivered meals, social support services and chronic disease self management, etc.
Freeholder Vicari noted that the state also commended Ocean for Evidenced Based Disease Prevention Health Promotion and our Person Centered Access to Information. He added that Ocean County is a leader in the state conducting programs such as Take Control of Your Health and Move Today which are evidenced based. Vicari, stated “that help and assistance is just a phone call away for county residents; we do whatever it takes to help seniors remain independent; we go above and beyond in Ocean County.”
Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little noted that Ocean County continues to be a great place to retire as evidenced by the growing senior population.
“There are 90 adult communities in Ocean County,” he said.
“All of our programs and services provide a host of benefits to our older adults. From our caring and professional staff at the Ocean County Office of Senior Services to the assistance provided by our large and compassionate senior services network, the elderly in Ocean County are in good hands.”