WAYNE, NJ – On Wednesday, Fifth Ward Councilwoman Fran Ritter hosted a combined Wayne Township/Passaic County presentation on services that are available to Wayne’s senior population. It was held in the clubhouse at the Brittany Chase condominiums and the room was filled to capacity.
“There are so many different services available that, I think it can be somewhat overwhelming,” said Ritter to the crowd. “You are the taxpayers; you pay for these services and you deserve to know what is available to you.”
The political dignitaries present included Ritter, Passaic County Freeholder Director, Sandi Lazarra, Freeholder and Wayne resident John Bartlet and Wayne Board of Education President Cathy Kazan.
After Ritter, Lazarra and Bartlet addressed the crowd, the presentation began with Shirley Force, the Director of the Passaic County Senior Services Department.
With a strong voice and great energy Force was truly a force in the room.
“Between the County along with the Township, we have a whole slew of programs and services and benefits that can benefit each one of you,” said Force. “We are working for you and none of us should go without.”
Force motioned: The Meals on Wheels program, the Paratransit Service, Senior Centers throughout the County, Adult Day Care and more, with a short explanation of each service. There was a lot to mention and she had to talk fast.
In the packets handed out were a breakdown of services that the County provides:
- Information & Assistance which includes:
- Benefit Screening and Entitlement Consultation.
- Medicare Insurance Counseling
- Medicaid Enrollment Assistance
- Farmer’s Market Voucher Program
- Annual Senior Art Show
- Property Tax Reimbursement Programs – The Senior Freeze Program
- PAAD (Prescription Assistance to the Aged and Disabled)/Senior Gold applications
- Home Energy Assistance and Weatherization
- Legal Services
- SNAP – Formerly known as the food stamps program
- Care Management, Care Coordination and Caregiver Assistance
- Managed Long-term Support & Services
- Nutrition Centers
- Social Adult Day Care – A monthly calendar of structured social activities
- Telephone Reassurance
- Transportation Services
- Veteran Services
- Fraud Help
Force finished by saying: “This was a lot of information, so If you walk away anything remember that we are located at 930 Riverview Drive in Totowa. The office is open Monday – Friday 8:30am -4:30pm.”
The Passaic County Department of Senior Services phone number is 973-569-4060.
Seniors are encouraged to call for more information on any of these programs. “We’ll go over programs and services in detail,” said Force. “Even if you don’t have a need today, call and get the information so if you ever do need it, you’ll know, or share it with someone else.”
Rosemary Acampora is the Wayne Township Senior, Social Services and Welfare Director and she had a tough act to follow, but Acampora is a pro and though she spoke softer, her message was just as strong as the previous one.
“The Senior Services part of my job entails a lot of listening,” said Acampora. “Listening to the concerns and problems of seniors and troubleshooting with them. Some of the concerns are quite serious, like a senior who lives alone with health problems, in a hoarding situation. While some concerns are much lighter…like the senior who called wanting to know what to do with her grandkids who were coming to town.”
Acampora is an incredibly kind person and is the right person for her job.
“The Senior and Social Services department offers a variety of resources and referrals, our goal is to connect people to services,” she said and began her own list of services that Wayne Township offers.
- Processing NJ SHARES applications for those who have fallen behind on utility payments
- The WIN Food Pantry that provides food assistance to those in need
- Services from the Wayne Health Department include free or low-cost:
- Hearing screening
- Vision Screening
- A Falling Prevention Program
- Female Cancer Screening
- Blood Screening
- Thyroid and Carotid Artery Screening
- Stroke Prevention Screening
- Bone Desnity Screening
- Memory Screening
- Senior Resource Expo – is a free event on April 30th at the Wayne PAL
- Dentail Clinic
- Shingle vaccines
- Flu Shots
“We can also bring programs to senior organizations,” said Acampora. “Last year, we collaborated with the Wayne Alliance’s coordinator, Robbin Gulino, the Sherriff’s Department, and the Police Department. We brought different programs to the Golden Agers at the PAL, Prime Timers at St. Timothy’s, Four Seasons senior group and the seniors at Our Lady of Consolation to name a few. So, if your organization would like a presentation please feel free to call our office.”
Acampora finished with: “The future is bright. We’re getting ready to issue a town-wide senior survey and we’re looking to craft new programs as a result of what we learn from the surveys. And, of course, we will continue to listen.”
Because so much information was handed out, it is again encouraged to call Acompora’s office directly or the Wayne Health Department for detailed information on each program. Call the Township’s main line and following the prompts: 973-694-1800