In 2005, a group of concerned citizens banded together to find solutions to meet the growing needs of Marion County’s seniors. The Senior Services Levy was placed on the 2005 ballot, and when it passed, the Marion County Council on Aging was established. JoEllen King had spent 25 years as a social worker when the Council on Aging got its start. From the very beginning, she served on the board and believed in the mission of the organization. When the director was looking to retire in 2018, JoEllen was ready to step up and take over. She had big shoes to fill, but her passion for the mission and experience from her years in social work have been the perfect recipe for success.
The Marion County Council on Aging provides both resources and services to senior citizens in need all over Marion County. Director Jo Ellen explains, “We are an entry point for seniors and family members in Marion County that know they need help, but don’t know where to begin. Whether seniors need transportation or have questions about Medicare or other services, we are here to help every step of the way.” The organization is funded through the Senior Services Levy and receives no federal or state funds.
The goal of these services is to enrich the lives of the senior citizen community, taking care of those that spent their lives taking care of us. Many seniors in the county are living on their own with no family nearby to help, desperate to keep their independence. Providing services like shopping assistance and delivered hot meals gives seniors the freedom to stay in their homes.
Another service the organization provides is arranging transportation. Whether it’s a visit to a local doctor, a quick trip to the grocery store, or an appointment at larger hospitals in Columbus, the Marion County Council on Aging helps seniors get where they need to go. The transportation services have given Cindy M. freedom she never thought she’d have without a driver’s license. She explains, “I am very grateful for the much needed help the Council on Aging has given me. I am elderly and do not drive. My closest family is over 40 miles away so I depend on the transportation services for everything from appointments to grocery store trips. The people on the phone lines have always been helpful and friendly and the drivers are just wonderful. They are truly my life line.”
Other services the Marion County Council on Aging provides are organized in-home help for those in need. Charlotte was taking care of her older sister with dementia. Doing everything she could to keep her sister from having to live in a nursing home, she sacrificed a lot before reaching out to the Council on Aging. They were able to arrange meals, home health aides, light house cleaning, and more to give Charlotte the support she needed. Jo Ellen explains, “When you are a caregiver, 95% of your time is devoted to providing care, leaving little to no time for yourself. We were honored to give Charlotte her life back. That’s why we’re here.”
Whether you or a loved one are in need of specific services, have questions about Medicare or other programs, or anything in between, the Marion County Council on Aging can walk you through it. This upcoming election is crucial for the organization as the Senior Services Levy is up for renewal. This levy is a renewal and will not result in any new taxes. Show your support for the Marion County Council on Aging and vote yes on the Senior Services Levy Renewal. For information, services, and more, call the Council on Aging at 740-387-0401 or visit the office at 125 Executive Drive, Suite 102, in Marion.