Elderbridge programs help keep seniors in their homes

To the Editor:

Elderbridge is an agency funded and organized under the Older Americans Act and passed by Congress prior to 1980. The primary goal of Elderbridge is to assist seniors to remain in their homes rather than going to a nursing home.

Today, there are six area agencies covering the state of Iowa. Elderbridge covers 29 counties in the northwest corner of the state. The Iowa Association of Area Agencies saves the state of Iowa $4.7 million in Medicaid spending (tax dollars) by supporting almost 9,000 nursing-home-eligible people in their homes and hometowns each year.

Elderbridge saved Hamilton County $300,000 to $400,000 in Medicaid spending (tax dollars) last year alone. This savings was primarily because of the Senior Citizen Building and the Congregate Meals program in Webster City. After the meal program began, our community observed many physical improvements in the health of our seniors. They had a reason to get up in the morning, get dressed and go to the senior building to visit with their friends while eating a balanced meal.

Mr. Weber, a City Council member at the time the building was purchased, shared that the council had seen the many benefits and needs of our senior’s health improve because of the building availability and the Congregate Meal program. We are thankful that the City Council purchased the Senior Citizens Building for all the seniors to have a place to meet. In addition to purchasing the building, they also covered the utilities because the city’s cost was minimal compared to the savings on the overall project.

The Senior Center Building also provides an opportunity for sharing information on programs available to assist seniors with major health problems.

Elderbridge programs are for seniors age 60 and older. If any group would like information on or a program presented about the Elderbridge services, please contact Doug Doolittle, a member of the Elderbridge Advisory Council representing Hamilton County.

Douglas Doolittle

Webster City