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State wants to increase use of senior centers
Legacy Link planning to hold public input meeting Tuesday
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Artist's rendering of center.

Public meeting

What: Legacy Link seeks residents’ input on senior centers
When: 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Legacy Link, 4080 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood
More info: legacylink.org or 770-538-2650

Changes may be coming to senior centers across the state in order to boost participation, and area agencies on aging like Legacy Link want to hear from residents about what those changes should be.

Legacy Link, the agency serving Hall and 12 other counties, is holding a public meeting 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Tuesday at its offices at 4080 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood.

“Basically what they’re looking at is increasing the daily average attendance at the centers” from 20 to 30, said Lamar Gailey, community programs manager, of state objectives.

Also called for is forming advisory groups comprising clients, staff and “the community at large in looking at programming for seniors,” Gailey said.

“I’m not sure if any of our communities could exercise those options as much as you could in a more metropolitan area,” but some things can be done “to get the program more out into the community,” Gailey said.

Phillippa Lewis Moss, director of Gainesville-Hall’s Community Service Center, said she doesn’t believe the new initiative “will change anything substantial” at the Senior Life Center at 434 Prior St., Gainesville.

“I think that who we are and how we operate will continue to be,” she said.

One thing is for certain: The center doesn’t have to worry about meeting daily attendance guidelines, as it typically serves more than 60 residents.

Moss plans to share information at the meeting about a proposed expansion of the center, as called for in the special purpose local option sales tax referendum set for March 17.

“That (project is) going to lend itself to us increasing participation and our numbers, and hopefully it will attract a more active group of retirees,” she said.

Legacy Link provides funding to 11 senior centers in its Georgia Mountain region, including Hall.

The state’s Division of Aging Services, which falls under the Department of Human Services, sets policies and procedures for the programs, with senior centers receiving federal money from the Older Americans Act through the state.

Ashley Fielding, director of the Office of Legislative Affairs and Communications for the Department of Human Services, said the state is working with the agencies on aging and local providers “to change the way local services are delivered to seniors.”

“These changes give local communities the flexibility to meet the unique needs of the participants in their programs and to use their resources in a way that serves the greatest number of individuals,” she said.

Prompting the initiative is a recent ruling by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that requires that services “be more integrated in the community,” Fielding said.

“The first step is to get feedback from local communities on the service they currently receive, which is what is happening with Legacy Link,” she said.

“From there, plans to update the centers to provide services to the greatest number of participants will be developed and the (aging division) will work with the area agencies on aging to implement those plans.”

Regional events