Earlier this month, Bexley launched the 55+ Service Navigator Program, a partnership with Jewish Family Services to connect older adults and caretakers with services and sources of assistance.

As part of the program, a volunteer known as a service navigator will be available free of charge to assist participants from 2 to 4 p.m. Sundays at the Bexley Public Library, 2411 E. Main St., and from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesdays at Bexley City Hall, 2242 E. Main St.

"JFS social workers will work to connect 55-plus residents with various services that they may need," said Michael Price, director of Bexley's recreation and parks department. "Those may be housing-related support, medical-related support, etc. They will connect the residents with organizations that are designed to address their individual needs."

Price said the program would connect older adults and their families with services that include transportation and housing and social/emotional support being offered by local social service agencies.

The concept for the program, he said, grew out of discussions held over the past few years by the Bexley Community Health Action Team, a community-based group that focuses on the physical, emotional and social well-being of Bexley residents of all ages.

"The service navigators will help direct older adults and their adult children to (access) available supportive resources," said Mary Gottesman, a former Bexley City Council member who continues to lead the CHAT group.

"We have many in Franklin County, but it can be daunting to find the resource that best matches the needs and financial resources of any individual. In addition, the most pressing need is often only the tip of the iceberg of all the help needed. This is where the free and confidential service navigators come in to help identify the range of needs and the best resources to meet them."

The overall purpose of the 55+ Service Navigator Program is to help participants experience the best possible quality of life, Mayor Ben Kessler said.

"We want to encourage active, vibrant lifestyles for our seniors and to enhance the ability of residents to age in place and remain connected to the community," Kessler said in a news release.

Bexley City Council allotted $21,000 to fund the program for the remainder of 2020, Price said. The program is functioning as a pilot and will help the city gauge the needs of older adults and how to meet them, he said.

"We will be collecting generic data -- not specific data on the individual users -- to understand the impact of the program and to evaluate the program for future years," he said. "At the end of the year, the administration and city council will discuss next steps for the program."

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a service navigator, go to bexley.org/navigator.

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