Fighting for Seniors in the Age of COVID-19 – New Challenges for the “Golden Years”

Mon Aug 17 2020 04:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Originally known as the endless holiday or permanent vacation one hopes to enjoy after retirement, the “Golden Years” are suddenly presenting new challenges in this time of COVID-19.

Despite these new difficulties, I am committed to protecting our seniors and ensuring that they can and will enjoy their “Golden Years.”

In the wake of the tropical storm that struck the county with near-hurricane force winds, I have taken action to require the utility companies to reimburse all of our residents for food and medicine that spoiled in unpowered freezers and refrigerators.

I am well aware that many seniors were already having trouble making ends meet and putting food on the table before the pandemic. The virus, and now the extended power outages, just made a bad situation worse.

But please know that Ocean County is there for you. Our Meals-on-Wheels program continues to deliver nutritious meals to anyone who needs them.

I am also continuing the fight to restore both the Property Tax Relief Program (Senior Freeze) and the Homestead Credit benefit. I have said it before – Trenton cannot balance the state budget on the backs of our senior citizens.

We all know that from bread to toilet paper, everything costs more than it did before the pandemic began. Now more than ever before every dollar counts.

I have also been a vocal opponent of any cuts to Social Security and have worked shoulder-to-shoulder with our local Congressmen to ensure that both Social Security and Medicare funding remain a priority in Washington D.C.

We all know that COVID-19 has been especially lethal to older Americans. Our Office of Senior Services and the Ocean County Health Department continue to work hard to protect our seniors and our most vulnerable population.

But there’s more to living in this “new reality” than just staying physically healthy. We must ensure that our seniors are emotionally healthy and do not succumb to the depression or loneliness that accompany COVID-19.

In that regard, the Office of Senior Services is fully staffed. While our government buildings remain closed to the public, professionals are just a phone call away and can assist with anything from counseling services to Medicare questions.

I also invite our caregivers to contact the office. I have heard from a number of people that the extra time they are spending with their elderly parents during the COVID-19 lockdown has exposed the cognitive difficulties their mothers and fathers are experiencing. In many cases, the adult children didn’t realize how serious these problems had become until they witnessed them firsthand.

Even though these continue to be trying times, there is no reason for anyone to live in isolation. We have the help you need. Please don’t hesitate to call the Office of Senior Services at 1-800-668-4899.

And rest assured that I will continue to fight for our seniors both during and after this pandemic.