Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Fayette senior population increasing

If you are 55 or older in Fayette County, you have plenty of company.

According to Atlanta Regional Commission data, the county’s over-55 population increased 96.9 percent from 1990 to 2000. Overall, the Atlanta region’s 55-and-older population grew by an average of 38 percent.

Fayette County was second in growth only to Gwinnett, which saw an increase of 100.1 percent. Fayette’s 55-and-over population is 18.5 percent of the county 2000 census and is the largest component of that age grouping in the 11-county Altanta Regional Commission’s counties.

Fayette County, in 2000, was home to over 16,895 persons 55 or older. Just under 13 percent in the county are over the age of 60. In comparison, Gwinnett’s over-60 population makes up 7.9 percent of the population.

While the senior population’s income as a whole in Fayette County is slightly higher than the average in the Atlanta region, in 2000 close to 8 percent of those 75 and older, and almost 5 percent of those 65 and older, were classified as living below poverty.

Fayette seniors are generally active and able to take advantage of many fun offerings in the county. For those, The JOY Club, sponsored by Fayette Senior Services, a club for the active senior, The Gathering Place in Peachtree City, local banks, churches, libraries and county and city parks and recreation programs offer numerous fun activities.

For seniors and their families who need occasional or continuing assistance, Fayette Senior Services, located in Fayetteville, serves as both an information resource and a supplier of services. The agency provides services to all income levels.

Most are familiar with Meals on Wheels, the program that delivers nutritious hot lunches to homebound seniors throughout the county. FSS volunteers delivered 36,107 meals between July 2002 and June 2003.

Other lesser-known programs and services offered through FSS include:

• Information and referral. Specialists connect seniors and their caregivers with community services and resources. In some cases, the specialist contacts providers for the individuals.

• Case management. An assessment of needs is made, families are assisted in the planning of care for seniors and referrals are made.

• Transportation. Transportation is contracted to provide medical transportation services for those 60 and older who live in the county. The service is available Monday ­ Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to doctors, dentists, and to pickup prescriptions. Rides are $20, however some individuals may qualify for a discount based on income using a sliding scale.

• In-home services. Trained personnel perform simple homemaker and/or personal care tasks to help eligible recipients remain self-sufficient. Shopping, errands, light housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, bathing, grooming, dressing and other tasks are performed.

• Friendly visitor. Homebound seniors are matched with trained volunteers who visit the individual once a week.

• Emergency response. Subscribers pay a monthly monitoring fee for a small pendant or wristband that can signal a friend, relative or emergency service if help is needed.

• Wellness program. An educational program staffed by volunteer registered nurses. Blood pressure checks and health screenings are provided throughout the year.

• Adult day services. A daytime program to help families take care of loved ones. A customized program of activities is developed for individuals. The programming can include hot lunches and snacks, therapeutic services, bathing services, beauty care and barbershop and motion exercises.

Other services include senior employment referrals, van service to the senior center, and volunteer opportunities. For more information on the services provided by Fayette Senior Services, call 770-461-0813 or visit

— Janet McGregor


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