Local Aging Task Force seeks to connect seniors to resources

TOWNSHIP OF SALEM — Several local agencies and organizations are teaming up in a new effort to publish a comprehensive directory, making it easier for the area’s senior community to connect with available resources.

The Ottawa County Task Force on Aging, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that advocates on behalf of local seniors, recently announced the project, currently in development, titled “County Seniors Directory of Ottawa 2022”.

With funding from a grant from the Ottawa County Department of Employment and Family Services, the task force plans to send the directories to people aged 55 and older residing in the county.

They also plan to distribute the directories to county first responders, social service agencies, libraries, government offices, churches, senior living communities and aged care facilities.

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The Ottawa County Task Force on Aging, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that advocates for local seniors, is coordinating efforts to publish the

“The task force hopes that these directories will be used by seniors, people working with seniors, caregivers and family members to help find valuable resources in and around Ottawa County,” said said Rachel Fall, director of community outreach at Magruder Hospital. , one of the many member organizations of the working group.

The directory will include detailed contact information related to housing, transportation, health services, legal services, home care, food services, insurance, volunteer opportunities and more, according to Fall.

In addition to the efforts of the Ottawa County Task Force on Aging, which includes approximately two dozen member organizations and agencies, which made possible the development, publication and distribution of the directory, Fall also credited sponsors supporting the project and a “generous” grant from the Ottawa County Community Foundation.

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Dorothy Gackstetter, 89, of Graytown, adjusts her playful hat during the annual pig calling competition last summer at the fairgrounds.  Gackstetter said she stays alert by staying active and participating in events like these.  With the new Ottawa County Seniors Directory, it should be easier for seniors to find even more activities.

When it arrives in the mail at her home in Graytown, the new directory should make it easier for local seniors like Dorothy Gackstetter, who, at 89, remains active in the community.

Gackstetter is used to competing in the area’s Senior Olympics, officially called the Senior National Games, as well as numerous events at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds, where, for example, she competed in the annual call of pigs over the past 45 years in a row.

In 2018, Gackstetter was inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame.

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Dorothy Gackstetter of Graytown laughs with Ottawa County Commissioners when she was inducted into the Ohio Seniors Hall of Fame in 2018.

Despite the ubiquity of social media online, Gackstetter can’t find all of these things to do on Facebook.

“I grew up on a farm – I don’t do the internet,” she said.

Although many other seniors have embraced varying levels of social media use, which is in fact one of the areas the task force frequently aims to educate so that they are not exploited online, in Ottawa County, there are many people who share a similar view to Gackstetter.

With the new Ottawa County Seniors Directory, however, many of the resources they are looking for could be right at their fingertips.

Despite the ubiquity of social media online these days, 89-year-old Dorothy Gackstetter can't find anything to do on a Facebook timeline.

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