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Letter to Council on Aging

Fall-Winter 2007

Charlevoix County
Board of Commissioners

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Shirley Roloff, Chair
100 Hampton Road
Charlevoix, Michigan 49720

Shirlene Tripp, Vice Chair
07682 Old Us 31 N.,
Charlevoix, Michigan 49720

Chris Christensen
111 East Pine Street
Boyne City, Michigan 49712

Ronald Reinhardt
00880 BC/EJ Road
Boyne City, Michigan 49712

Joel Evans
10448 Lord Road
East Jordan, Mi 49727

Robert Drebenstedt
04857 Wickersham Road
Charlevoix, Michigan

On October 23, 2007, I attended a Charlevoix Council on Aging planning session in Boyne City that was intended to set priorities and expectations for Charlevoix County. As many of you know, I am an R.N. with two elderly parents ages 89 and 93. I know first hand about aging and services on Beaver Island. I asked two questions at the end of a 2 hour session. I feel strongly that all property owners ask similar questions of our Charlevoix County Commissioners that have a duty and are responsible for the public health of Beaver Island. The questions were:

All of Charlevoix County has more COA services than Beaver Island; in addition, Charlevoix County’s Visiting Nurses Association with all of those health services are not available to anyone young or old on Beaver Island. Our isolation and unique elderly situations require a different approach than if we were attached to the mainland. My question is: Since COA has set the precedent allowing the Charlevoix Senior Center to determine how best to use its funding given from the COA, why should Beaver Island residents not be given the same choices and abilities that would provide just the services that our at risk elderly need such as in home Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, better meals, more frequent assessments…and the list goes on, through our Medical Center that is a 501(c)(3) ?

Question #2 regards the administrative/management decisions made by the County’s employee. The Patient Care Services that assist with activities of daily living (and I’m talking about bathing of homebound seniors and other basic services) are totally unavailable when our present single care giver is off the island and to have a “waiting list” for various services for sometimes as long as 2-years is unacceptable. This neglects the very basic needs of our elderly for a week or more at a time. At the same time, COA is building a $1.5 million dollar investment account, which plainly shows that the COA has been and is broken and needs major changes from the top. How can the taxpayers of Beaver Island be assured that our taxes and grant monies that were earmarked for our elderly actually get directed to areas that the community has identified as being needed vs. the COA administration determining our needs?

I await their answer as every taxpayer of Beaver Island should.

Respectfully submitted,

Pam Grassmick

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