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Wayne cites the efforts of seniors

Pictured seated are Pat Perkins, Wayne County Senior Center director, left; Jacqueline Sturgis, director of the Wayne Area Agency on Aging; and volunteers Charlotte Sobolick, Juanita Pisano and Carolyn Sobolick. Standing are Commissioners Wendell Kay, left, Brian Smith and Jonathan Fritz, and Wayne Human Services Director, Andrea Whyte.
TRR photo by David Hulse

By David Hulse
October 2, 2013

Noting that they “understand the important needs of the county’s aging population and the integration of the boomer generation,” the Wayne County Commissioners on September 19 proclaimed September as 2013 Senior Center Month in Wayne County.

The board recognized the efforts of staff and volunteers at the Hamlin, Hawley and Honesdale centers.

Traditionally providing a nutritious meal, a place to gather and connect with friends, the centers have helped keep seniors participating members of the community. Wayne County Human Services Director Andrea Whyte said the centers are like a senior home for services. “It helps to keep people involved and aware of what’s going on.”

Additionally they offer health and wellness programs, transportation, educational and recreation activities.

Keeping current, they have also undertaken newer programs like notary services, a health insurance counseling program, APPRISE; and LINK, which is described as “the first place to go to get accurate, unbiased information on all aspects of life related to aging or living with a disability.”

Commissioner Wendell Kay, who is an attorney, lauded the APPRISE program which is really needed to deal with complicated government health plans. “I just took a Continuing Law Education (CLE) course on Medicare and Medicaid, and they are extremely complicated.”

Commissioner Jonathan Fritz said he had “a strong appreciation” for the centers’ staff saying “the hallmark of a caring society is the care it takes with its seniors.”

On the Internet, visit aging.co.wayne.pa.us/adrc-2/ for more information about LINK; and for more about APPRISE, visit aging.co.wayne.pa.us/senior-centers/apprise-health-insurancefinancial-assistance-counseling-program, or call 570/253-4262 for more about any area agency on aging program.

In other business at the meeting, Whyte submitted the fourth quarter, 2012-13 fiscal year report for county drug and alcohol programs, which listed a cost of $631,919. She said alcohol, heroin and prescription drug abuse are the biggest county problems. Abuse occurs in “a younger population than you might think,” she said.

Whyte said the program handled some 600 people last year. “That’s a lot for a county our size. Originally we had 90 people, and not that long ago,” she said.

Kay wondered if it was an increase or a statistical change caused by more reporting. “My sense tells me more people now realize this is a problem,” he said.