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County Mayor's Message

May 01, 2015 11:21AM ● Published by Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams

May Is Older Americans Month

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act.  In 1965, Congress passed the legislation in response to concern about a lack of community services for older persons. It authorized a wide array of service programs through a national network of state and county agencies on aging. This year marks a celebration of how, over the years, the focus has shifted towards helping older adults take charge of their health, stay engaged in their communities and make a positive impact on the lives of others.

The good news is that as Utahns, we’re living longer than ever before.  The baby-boomer generation has redefined what it is to be an older adult. Even though Utah is known as a state where there are lots of children in larger-than-average families, our 60 and older population will surpass our school-age population by 2030—just 15 years from now. Of Utah’s 65 and older population, 35 percent will live in Salt Lake County by that year. Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services has been trusted by county residents for many years to help improve the quality of life for older Utahns. We take that responsibility seriously. These residents are someone’s mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandmother or grandfather. We try to serve them as we would want our own family members to be served.

Many of you are familiar some of the programs we offer, such as Meals on Wheels. In collaboration with volunteers and businesses throughout Salt Lake County, we deliver hot noontime meals to frail and isolated older adults six days a week.  Nutritional meals help their physical health; a friendly word and watchful eye supports their emotional well-being.

The County offers other programs, including:

• The Caregiver Support Program – a short term program that provides assistance and support to individuals taking care of a loved one, often a spouse or parent.

• The Community Care and Transitions Program – providing in-home services to individuals who wish to age in their own home.

• The Rides To Wellness Program – providing rides for those 60 and older with no means of transportation to medical appoints and prescription pick-ups.

• The Senior Employment Program – providing job search assistance to residents age 55 or older with paid on-the-job training programs.

Many older county residents are frequent customers at one of our 19 Senior Centers.  The county partners with multiple cities to offer this network, where active senior adults can take a class, participate in a workshop or clinic, and get together with friends for a nutritious lunch. You’re more likely to see these folks playing pickle ball or taking aerobics classes, then sitting sedately in rocking chairs.  We take our cues from the needs of this important population that we are here to serve.

There is a great deal of information about these and other Aging and Adult Services programs at our website: www.slco.org/aging. Or, you can dial (385) 468-3200 to receive help from a friendly staff member. Salt Lake County is committed to promoting independence of aging generations and to offer programs and services that help you and your family members live a healthy, active and engaged lifestyle in our community, while at the same time looking out for those vulnerable older adults to help keep them safe.        
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