County program aids seniors & disabled
Initiative Focuses on Seniors and the Disabled
Ocean County Press Release
OCEAN COUNTY officials say they have been working closely with the State in implementing an enhanced delivery system for services that benefit both seniors and the disabled.
"With the largest senior population in the state of New Jersey, Ocean County has always made access to programs and services for seniors and the disabled a priority," said Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as Chairman of the Ocean County Office of Senior Services. "We have been closely working with the State to make certain we were ready to meet this initiative ensuring seniors and adults with disabilities in need of long-term services and supports have information and easy access to community based alternatives."
The state announced recently that the new delivery system for services called the Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) became operational in all 21 counties.
The ADRC is a joint initiative between the New Jersey Departments of Health and Senior Services and Human Services with the 21 Area Agencies on Aging serving as the county lead agencies in partnership with other state and local governmental and nonprofit agencies in the aging and disability services networks.
Vicari noted that Ocean County in 1996 brought together related agencies that provided services to seniors, veterans, the disabled, all under one roof at the Ocean County One Stop Center at 1027 Hooper Ave., here, in Building 2, which is located on the campus of the Ocean County Board of Social Services and State of New Jersey Employment Services.
"This made accessing services for Ocean County residents much more convenient because many of these individuals are eligible for a host of services," Vicari said.
"The ADRC takes this even a step further," he said. "Traditionally, services for senior citizens have been administered separately from those for persons with disabilities, even though these groups share many of the same needs and face many of the same barriers."
The ADRC provides consumers with improved access to community programs such as personal care, housekeeping, specialized transportation, assisted living and nursing home care. It also connects seniors and adults with disabilities with work and volunteer opportunities, Medicare, Medicaid and other insurance options, health promotion and disease prevention programs, housing, crisis intervention, and other home and community programs.
"The ADRC is a key component of the state's plan to transform our overall long-term care system to one that encourages community-based services and consumer direction," said state Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd. "The ADRC gives consumers greater choice and more control over how, when and where needed services are provided."
Ocean County Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little said the State initiative complements and enhances the strong partnerships that have been created in Ocean County between departments and related agencies.
Little, who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Department of Human Services' Office for Individuals with Disabilities and the Ocean County Board of Social Services, said Senior Services and Human Services continue to work towards becoming the connection for aging and disability resources while maintaining their Ocean County identity.
"In addition to sharing the same building in Toms River, both Human Services and Senior Services are working collaboratively to provide improved access to information and assistance through trained staff and linking their respective websites at www.co.ocean.nj.us," Little said. "We commend the State for bringing a greater focus to these areas. Ocean County's large senior population and its many individuals with disabilities will benefit greatly from this initiative."
The state has also updated its website at www.adrcnj.org.
For more information on this initiative call 1-877-222-3737.