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Guiding principles for senior services approved

The new senior services division goals, priorities and mission were approved by the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission Monday night.

Its mission is to enhance the lives of seniors “by promoting healthy aging, well-being, dignity and independence,” empowering seniors as “valued, contributing members of the community and together advocate for the diverse needs of seniors and their families throughout Ashland.”

Senior Services Superintendent Isleen Glatt told the commission that one of the division’s chief goals is connecting seniors and family members of seniors to a wealth of resources in the community.

She said a lot of people aren’t aware of the assistance available and so staff emmbers are the “gatekeeper” in the sense that staff can connect interested parties with the right sort of help.

Commissioner Rick Landt said he had a problem with the word “gatekeeper” because it is defined as “a person or thing that controls access to something.” The gatekeeper name stems from a program name intended to teach people who meet elderly adults often to be alert for signs of declining health.

He asked if the wording be changed to something more appropriate, to which Glatt joking suggested the “gate opener.”

Everything was then unanimously approved.

Senior services said these goals will aid in their work with empowering Ashland seniors to:

Build partnerships with local and regional organizations;

Identify and reach frail or vulnerable citizens who may be isolated and help them maintain independence;

Raise community awareness of senior needs, available resources, etc.;

Advocate for the needs of Ashland seniors and provide input to the city and other policy-making entities;

Evaluate, maintain, improve and add to current facilities; and

Expand the available programs and services.

Each goal comes with a list of strategies to better implement that goal, ranging from social marketing campaigns to engaging with the pool planning to advocate for senior needs.

The senior services division mission, goals and priority strategies were developed by the Senior Services Advisory Committee and are to remain through the next biennium. Glatt said input from the Senior Program Advisory Committee, commissioners and the description of her relatively new position also contributed.

Glatt said she believes the division has enough in the budget to work on all the goals.

Contact Tidings reporter Caitlin Fowlkes at cfowlkes@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4496. Follow her on Twitter @cfowlkes6.

City of Ashland photoThe Ashland Senior Center on Homes Avenue.