Johnson County Area Agency on Aging
Paid for by Older Americans Act funding
Question: Can you recap the work of the Johnson County Area Agency on Aging during the pandemic year of 2020 and highlight any new plans or programs for 2021?
Answer: The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has had an enormous impact on the health and well-being of aging adults in Johnson County and across the United States. The Johnson County Area Agency on Aging (AAA) ended 2020 in a flurry of work to coordinate specific projects funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. However, a great deal of work was completed in 2020 with the AAA taking steps all year to improve and innovate existing service and process for 2021. The following five summaries are some of the steps we are taking to improve your experience when working with us in the future:
Aging Care Services Program
Thanks to the county’s recognition of the cost effectiveness of in-home services for older adults, the Board of County Commissioners provided funding of $250,000 for additional in-home supports and services modeling a new local program after the State Senior Care Act program. An agency workgroup has developed this program and services are set to begin in January. The board may consider an additional $250,000 for fiscal year 2022 provided there is program success in the year ahead.
Creating a new County Aging Services webpage
The County Aging Services webpage will be a little easier to locate and navigate starting in 2021. The webpage placement will be optimized, and aging service descriptions are being reviewed and simplified for the public. A special Start Here page will leave no doubt about where to begin in the myriad of service choices and options. Special sections on In-Home Services, Housing and Transportation, among others will be easier to find and understand.
Explore Your Options Revision and Distribution
The Aging Service resource directory for the county, Explore Your Options (EYO) has been revamped and improved for 2021. In addition to improving the resource, the publication will be mailed to those aging adults living in Johnson County who currently receive The Best Times. The printing of the directory was paid for by Older Americans Act grant funding. The mailing was paid for by county-approved federal CARES funding. More information about the EYO mailing is on page 7.
Intake and Service Access Improvement
To streamline access to information and services, an alternate and optional approach to services will be offered through an online application to begin the process of seeking aging services. The online application is being developed and will be strategically placed on the new aging website.
Once tested and approved, it should make services easier to access for those who feel comfortable using an online approach. The information line will continue to be available, but a short, quick-and-easy online form should help with the growing number of older adults, family members, caregivers and professionals seeking to access aging services.
Nutrition Central Kitchen Study
Johnson County Government continues to look at ideas for a new central kitchen to support its large nutrition program requiring daily preparation of about 1,000 meals for home-delivered meal and neighborhood senior center participants.
Options now being considered are a stand-alone kitchen, kitchen and co-located congregate meal site, or kitchen, congregate site with nutrition staff offices. The study is near completion and will soon be presented to the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners.
Upcoming COA meetings
The Commission on Aging will continue to meet via Zoom videoconference in 2021, starting Jan. 13 and again on Feb. 10. Both sessions start at 9 a.m. Please call 913-715-8860 for more information. Visit jocogov.org/coa or facebook.com/jocoaging for more information about COA.