An Aging-in-Place forum was held recently at Cape Henlopen High School to connect residents planning for old age with the agencies and vendors that will allow them to do so.
The nearly four-hour forum provided an opportunity to visit with nearly 35 vendors and agencies offering information about a range of services for senior citizens, from legal advisement and state-sponsored assistance to healthcare choices and senior communities.
Nearly 200 people came out on a frosty January snow date to visit the vendors and attend exhibitions from speakers representing home health service and care organizations to survey their options in planning for the future.
During her presentation, Greater Lewes Community Village Co-President Carol Wzorek polled the audience on their own fears about aging. Audience responses included worries about being a burden, isolation and losing control.
Since November, the Greater Lewes Community Village has grown to 40 members and 40 volunteers. Wzorek said the volunteer/member organization works to help resolve those issues, providing rides, company and community.
“We are very much members and volunteers living together,” she said. “It’s fun to be here, aging-in-place so much as a village. This is what we are all about.”
Most organizations represented at this forum - including Wzorek’s local nonprofit - provide support, services and programs to help senior members avoid institutionalized care and stay at home with community support as they age.
Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, said he attended the forum to see what vendors, services and information were being made available to this vulnerable population in his community.
“This is very important with the continued rise of the senior population in this area,” Lopez said. “I want people to know I’m there to support all these initiatives.”
Many of the vendors at this forum are private businesses and organizations and the assembly served temporarily as a central contact point for senior services in the Cape Region.
The Delaware Department of Health and Human Services was represented by the Delaware Aging and Disability Resource Center, a government-sponsored starting point for resources.
Resource center representative Sandy Quillen said this type of event has started popping up throughout the county to serve the growing senior population.
The aging and resource center is a federally mandated program, Quillen said, to help seniors avoid the isolation they fear and benefit from state services that are available.
“This is a network,” she said. “[Organizers] saw a need for these people to get connected.”
For more information about the Delaware Aging and Disability Resource Center and its services, call 800-223-9074 or visit www.delawareadrc.com.