By CARL E. FEATHER - firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior services providers are sought for this year’s Ashtabula County Senior Citizens Conference, May 17 at Kent State University-Ashtabula.
This is the sixth year for the conference, whose goal is to inform area professionals, senior citizens and their adult children about services available in Ashtabula County. Martha Gillespie, program administrator for the Ashtabula County Department of Job and Family Services, said this year’s theme is “From Free to Fee, What’s Out There for Me!” The conference itself is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; a vendor room will be open from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Gillespie said the conference will focus on services in six categories: outreach services, recreation, nutrition, mental and physical health, transportation and housing. Both social service agencies that provide the services for free and for-fee providers are encouraged to be part of the conference.
Vendor tables are $25 each; Gillespie said that 30 vendors have already signed on for the vendor room.
“We’ve had pretty good response, but I’d like to double that number,” Gillespie said. “I’d like to see more veterans groups here, organizations that perhaps are not well known.”
As part of the outreach effort, Gillespie is assembling an informational resource guide of senior services in the community. Gillespie said paper copies of the guide will be distributed to seniors at the event, and the Senior Services Levy is providing funding for 250 flash drives, onto which an electronic copy of the guide will be saved. The flash drives will be available to professionals who work with the senior population and need a comprehensive list of resources in the community.
Gillespie said the conference and guide will be used to address a common scenario facing providers of services to seniors: An adult child who lives out of the area comes back to the county to visit aging parents and discovers they have a specific need, but have no idea who provides the service.
“They are willing to pay for that service, but they don’t known who to call,” Gillespie said.
In past years, the conference has focused on topics like elder abuse and long-term care options in the county. Gillespie said about 125 seniors attended last year’s conference, which is free.
Funding comes from the Ashtabula County Senior Services Levy, the Senior Care Network and private sponsors. Kent State is providing the facility and Ashtabula Senior Center members are assisting with organization.
Gillespie said a free meal is part of the event, but reservations are required. Call 994-2027 to make a reservation for the conference or participate in the vendor room.
To be included in the resources guide, send an email to Gillespie at email@example.com. Include a brief list of services offered, website address, email address of the contact person, physical address of the service provider, phone number and eligibility guidelines and/or fees.
Information for the guide must be received before May 1.