Mobile senior services a priority for some N.J. lawmakers

Currently, the state provides funding to county governments for senior services. The counties then allocate the funds to cities and townships based on the need for programming, Cherry Hill Mayor Susan Shin Angulo said.

“Whatever the state does to help our seniors I am 110% [in] support of it,” Shin Angulo said. “And I welcome [the legislation] here in Cherry Hill Township. These programs are so helpful because we have over 24,000 seniors … and the help with this mobile program would be convenient, helpful, and accessible.”

Shin Angulo did not readily know how much funding for senior services is allocated from Camden County, stating that there isn’t a specific line item in the township budget for it.

“We do a lot of shared services with the County,” Shin Angulo said.

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted some of the struggles people face towards the end of their lives. The CDC reported that people 65 and older have accounted for 78% of COVID-related deaths since 2020. 

Susan Romano, executive director of Senior Citizens United Community Services in Audubon, said COVID, which has killed more than six million people worldwide, has caused fear amongst older adults in her area. Romano said there is “always a need” for more accessible services.

“We come in contact with probably close to 7,000 people, maybe a year,” Romano said.

“It’s taking a while for people to feel comfortable coming back out to agencies and programs that are opening up. For those people who are more isolated or more homebound, then getting into the community would be a good thing,” she said.

Senior Citizens United Community Services offers programs like telephone reassurance, nutrition guidance, and case management.

McKnight said state leaders have not yet fully calculated the costs for the proposal.

“We’re going to work with the Department of Health to see what the appropriation should be,” McKnight said.

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