Helping Gwinnett’s Seniors Age in Place
By Charlotte J. Nash
Chairman - Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners
With Baby Boomers reaching retirement age, Gwinnett’s older adult population continues to grow. In fact, residents over the age of 65 numbered about 80,000 in 2015, a 45 percent jump from just five years earlier.
Many are native Gwinnettians, while some moved here in the prime of their careers and still others came later in life to be near their kids and grandkids. Especially their grandkids!
Many conversations taking place today surround the concept of aging in place. To me the term means helping seniors stay in their own homes safely and comfortably. Gwinnett County plays a key role in helping older adults remain independent for as long as possible.
Gwinnett County Senior Services operates four nutrition-based senior centers. Thanks to SPLOST, the Lawrenceville Senior Center was renovated last summer, the Buford Senior Center is being renovated now, the Norcross center will be next, and a brand new Centerville Senior Center will open later this year.
Seniors and caregivers can find resources at the Gwinnett Senior Services Center on Swanson Drive or by calling the help line at 678.377.4150. Care managers make in-home visits to arrange for light housekeeping, respite care, and home-delivered meals. Get in Gear transportation vouchers are available for eligible seniors and a volunteer driver program also helps seniors get around. Volunteers do yard work, deliver food, visit shut-ins, make minor home repairs, organize special events, and raise funds for emergency aid.
The nonprofit Friends of Gwinnett County Senior Services advocates for legislation, raises funds, provides food bags and emergency meals, and provides heavy duty cleaning and home repairs.
Other departments do their part for seniors, too.
Fire and Emergency Services’ SeniorBSafe program focuses on fire and injury prevention, while the Police Department’s special victims unit works closely with Senior Services to prevent abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults. Last fall, the Board of Commissioners allocated $400,000 to two nonprofits to help people manage chronic diseases and reduce emergency medical calls, transport, and emergency room visits.
Gwinnett County Transit’s Half Fare program is open to anyone 65 or older, people with disabilities, or Medicare cardholders on all local bus routes at any time.
Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation and the Health and Human Services Division offer classes, workshops, and activities – some for seniors, others open to all. Gwinnett L.I.F.E and One Stop publications have details and are available in community centers and online at www.gwinnettcounty.com – just look under News.
I’m extremely grateful for the dedication of all who work every day to make life a little easier for seniors in our community.