Council On Aging's Report Suggests Local Seniors Are Being Underserved
April 12, 2019
A presentation to the County Board of Commissioners suggested that Livingston County may not be offering the same levels of services to seniors as comparable counties.
The Livingston Leadership Council on Aging shared their findings upon a re-evaluation of their Needs Assessment study done last decade. The presentation was led by Health Department Chair Diane McCormick; Executive Director of the Livingston County United Way, Nancy Rosso; and the Area Agency on Aging 1-B’s Jim McGuire.
Twelve areas of priority were identified for where they believe the county could better support its older citizens. Among them were adult day care facilities, home safety modifications, and expansions of services to senior centers. The council used Monroe County as the basis for their comparison. They claim that while Monroe County has 7,000 less senior citizens, they consistently provide more service units to their aging population, than Livingston County does. A “service unit” represents one hour of assistance, or in in the case of food programs like Meals on Wheels, one meal served. This was largely credited to Monroe County having a senior millage of .5 mills, which brings in around $3.5-million annually.
Board of Commissioners Chairman Don Parker said a millage, however, might not be the best solution for Livingston County. Parker said many Livingston seniors own homes here and are on fixed incomes. He said that to introduce a millage might actually hurt the ones they are trying to help, and they need to consider the burden that the extra tax would cost. Parker said it’s not necessarily an “apples to apples comparison” with Monroe, because Livingston County has some unique dynamics that come into play. He pointed out that residents, here, have not only the lowest tax rate in all of Michigan, but there is also a greater growth rate and a Moody’s AAA Bond rating that Monroe County doesn’t have. Parker said that seniors are a priority for the board, and they believe there is a need to provide assistance where needed, required, and appropriate.
The council’s full report can be found on the county’s website.