Council on Aging: Senior services waiting list ‘inevitable’ in Clinton County


WILMINGTON — It’s likely that soon there will be a waiting list to enroll in the Clinton County Elderly Services Program (ESP).

That’s the news Clinton County commissioners heard this week in an update from the Council on Aging (COA) of Southwestern Ohio, which administers the Clinton County Elderly Services Program.

Clinton County’s ESP helps older adult residents with services such as home-delivered meals, transportation to medical appointments, homemaking assistance, and personal care.

The Elderly Services Program helps older adults remain safe and independent in their own homes. It provides in-home care for eligible seniors who might otherwise need to leave their homes and enter a nursing facility, states the Council on Aging’s website.

Ken Wilson, of the COA of Southwestern Ohio, said a waiting list is going to be “inevitable” in order to keep the program within budget.

The Elderly Services Program is made possible by Clinton County taxpayers through a 1.5-mills senior services tax levy. Other funding comes from federal and state money, grants, donations, and some of the time, client co-payments.

Wilson reminded commissioners that though there has not been a waiting list here for some time, there has been a waiting list in the past. According to the News Journal archives, at the end of September 2014, there were 27 people on the wait list for Elderly Services Program services in Clinton County.

On Monday, Wilson said the COA and the local Elderly Services Program Advisory Board — made up of seniors and seniors advocates — are recommending triaging those who need the services the most to receive services sooner than those who are in less urgent need.

Presently, there are about 460 ESP clients. Projections currently indicate the program can sustain services for about 400 individuals, according to a COA handout from Monday.

“We plan to slowly bring the census down while slowing down the number of people enrolling. For example, this could be enrolling one person for every three disenrollments,” the handout states.

There would be an avenue for immediate enrollment for certain individuals, such as people who are being discharged from the hospital and are determined to be at-risk for re-hospitalization or nursing facility placement, stated the handout.

According to a COA chart presented at the commissioners meeting, between October 2017 and August 2020, the number of Clinton Countians who were ESP clients went up by 103, from 356 to 459, which is a 29 percent increase.

The first Elderly Services Levy here was approved by Clinton County voters in May 1998.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

Council on Aging President Suzanne A. Burke meets with Clinton County commissioners. on Aging President Suzanne A. Burke meets with Clinton County commissioners. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal
29 percent increase in clients in past three years

By Gary Huffenberger

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