The first local senior services levy was approved by voters here in 1994. That was the year when former President Ronald Reagan announced he had Alzheimer's disease.

To the Editor:

The first local senior services levy was approved by voters here in 1994. That was the year when former President Ronald Reagan announced he had Alzheimer's disease. That fall, local voters said they were tired of having no choices other than nursing-home care for their family and friends who needed some help, but who did not need 24-hour care.

With the approval of that levy, everything changed. A coordinated system of care emerged and new in-home care choices were developed. No longer were adult children faced with the dilemma of quitting their jobs to take care of a parent. Spouses no longer had to choose between providing around-the-clock care themselves or placing their life companion in a nursing home. No longer did seniors face costly institutionalization only for the lack of a little help staying in their home. Now local seniors have options to maintain their dignity, their independence and their privacy, and to remain living safely at home.

This must be expensive, right? Well, you can't get something of value for nothing, but home care is a lot less expensive than nursing-home care. On average, a year of nursing-home care costs at least $60,000, compared to the $3,500 of levy funds that enable a person to remain at home for a year. In other words, for what it costs for a year of nursing-home care for one person, we can help 17 individuals remain living safely at home where they prefer to be.

Ohio law requires that local senior services levies return to the ballot at least every five years. Our current levy was approved in 2008, and now it is time for voters who want these services to continue to speak out once again. The 1.2-mill levy is on the ballot, and May 7 is the last day that you can vote. You are already paying for the bulk of the cost of this very modest request, and the additional cost will be just $9.20 a year per $100,000 of property value.

Fortunately, most older adults do not currently need these services. But as we age, the chance of health issues and disabilities increase substantially. We believe the extent to which we are prepared to care for the most vulnerable among us, the greater the sense of well-being and security there is for all of us.

In order for this good to continue, you must make the effort to vote. Please support the senior services levy on the ballot this spring.

Bob Horrocks
Executive director
Council for Older Adults of Delaware County