Council on Aging to host public hearings

ALBANY, Ga. — Two public hearings by the SOWEGA Council on Aging are set to take place soon in Dougherty and Decatur counties.

The first one, in Bainbridge, is set for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the senior center located at 402 W. Water St., while the one in Albany is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 23 at the senior center at 311 Pine Ave.

Officials say the public hearings are being utilized as an opportunity for citizens of any age to join in a discussion of the programs and services offered by the council throughout its service area.

SOWEGA Assistant Director Debbie Blanton is expected to go over the 2012 annual report and discuss programs, services and budget changes for this year. Individuals will also have the opportunity to voice any needs for programs and services, and the agency will be informing people on what it offers, a spokeswoman with the agency said.

The council conducts annual public hearings. This set of hearings takes place as construction is ongoing in Albany for the agency’s 45,000-square-foot Senior Life Enrichment Center on West Society Avenue, which is slated for completion late this year.

The council provides more than 20 programs for individuals age 60 or over throughout a 14-county service area of Baker, Calhoun, Colquitt, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas and Worth.

The Council on Aging was established in 1966 and works to coordinate a system of services that promote the well-being and independence of older and disabled Georgians, helping them achieve healthy and self-sufficient lives. The organization’s vision, officials say, is for all seniors and disabled individuals in its service area to have the resources to live longer, stronger and safer.

The agency’s annual report for 2012 showed that it provided $10.3 million in community-based care services during the year, which are provided to individuals eligible for Medicaid as an alternative to nursing home placement. Of that $10.3 million, more than $7.8 million went toward personal support services.