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News : 63,556 Reach Out to Elder Helpline for Information, Assistance in 2017
Charlotte, FL, USA, Feb, 2018 -- The Southwest Florida Elder Helpline received more than 63,000 calls in 2017, an increase of 3.4 percent from 2016. A total of 42.6 percent of those calls were received from Lee county. The Helpline is an information and referral service provided by the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida. The agency’s helpline assists older adults, caregivers and people with disabilities in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee and Sarasota counties.
Locally, the Helpline can be accessed by calling 866-413-5337 (41-ELDER) between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays, excluding holidays. Assistance is available in more than 200 languages.
"The Helpline is designed to assist seniors and people with disabilities as they try to find government funded and private-pay services," explains Autumn Rosa, AAASWFL’s director of client services. "It also gives us and the aging network a snapshot of what services are needed in each county and service area."
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Across AAASWFL’s seven-county region, the most frequently requested service was long-term care, with 72 percent of callers expressing interest. Also frequently requested were assistance with utility payments (24 percent), health insurance issues (23 percent), meals and nutrition (15 percent) and Housing (11 percent). The average Helpline caller expressed needs for 2.8 different services.
In Lee County, the top five needs were long-term care, health insurance assistance, utility payment assistance, meals and nutrition, and transportation. Lee County seniors requested health insurance assistance (26 percent of calls) more frequently than other Southwest Florida seniors. Transportation was also a more significant need in Lee County (11 percent of calls) than in other counties.
In addition to utilizing the helpline, older adults, adults with disabilities, and caregivers can also look up services through the Area Agency on Aging’s online resource directory.
In 2017, 4,457 people searched for local elder and disability services on the site, including visitors from 48 states and the District of Columbia.
"We often have callers and website visitors from outside the area who are trying to find help for a family member," explains Ms. Rosa. "People also call because they are considering retirement in Southwest Florida and want to know what kind of services are available once they come down here."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Today's Tip of the Day - Integration
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Published: Tuesday, February 6, 2018
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