Ask The Expert - Senior Services FAQs

Question : I am having trouble finding a part time job to supplement my Social Security. I have been out of the work force for about a year due to illnesses; but I'm fully recovered and full of energy and ready to work. I was told the Area Office on Aging could help me. Any suggestions?
Answer: Until July 2003, the Area Office on Aging, through the 55 Plus Employment and Training Program, was able to help people 55 and older who were looking for work. But sadly, the program was discontinued due to lack of funding from the Lucas County Workforce Development Department last July. Job seekers are now referred to the Lucas County One-Stop Employment Service Center . The One-Stop is located at 5454 Airport Highway and the phone number is 419-868-8430. The One-Stop Employment Service Center has placed a major emphasis in developing a customer friendly Resource Room that provides the job seeker customer access to a variety of tasks such as resume development, cover letter development, and career exploration assistance. Job hunters also have access to information including job postings, training providers, and Labor Market Information. Contact the One-Stop for more information. You've probably heard that you have to "know somebody" to get a job. And many times it's true -- more jobs are filled because somebody knows somebody than by all the want ads and employment agencies put together. About 60% of job vacancies are filled by referrals through friends, relatives, and business contacts. Networking is the key to finding a better job. As a mature person you have had the opportunity to develop a broad network of people that you can call upon. The people you have come in contact with over your lifetime represent a rich source of information about developing situations and unadvertised job opportunities. An active grapevine is the best job-hunting tool. Once those around you know the kind of work you want, they become your eyes and ears. Start the grapevine growing by making a list of people who will become your personal job-hunting network. Include in this list people you have worked with before as well as suppliers, customers, and clients. Add to the list relatives, friends, members of your church, bankers, lawyers, doctors, dentists, old school friends, and fellow members of community and professional organizations. If you would like more information concerning the Area Office on Aging of NW Ohio, Inc., please contact Ed Kachmarik, Information & Assistance Specialist at 419-382-0624, ext. 627 or go to our web site at .

Question: Is there any proven value to taking glucosamine sulfate to prevent the onset of osteoarthritis? 
Answer: So many products are available today for a variety of ailments, you are not alone in wondering about a product's claims. A good rule of thumb to follow is to ask questions of your doctor and/or pharmacist before taking any type of drugs (including prescription drugs), vitamins or herbs.   If you have any other questions pertaining to seniors (60+), please give us a call at (419)382-0624, ext. # 618 and check out our web site at
Question: My mother is raising my sister's kids. They are a real handful.  Is there any help for her?
Answer:  As you and your mother are finding out, taking-in the children is a full-time job.  Usually children in these situations experience many emotional ups-and-downs and require much attention -- many times professional help for behavior and learning problems.  The Kinship Navigator Program at the Area Office on Aging can guide your mother to services which include behavior counseling, financial assistance and health coverage for the children regardless of the family's income, legal counsel, and recreational and enrichment programs.  An educational/support group called Kinship Connection meets monthly on the fourth Wed. of the month from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Margaret L. Hunt Senior Center at 2121 Garden Lake Parkway.  At the Kinship Connection meeting a free supper and programs for adults, teens, children and toddlers are conducted.  Families that attend seem to find the evening not only educational but enjoyable because they can relax and not worry about the kids being judged for rambunctious behavior, etc.  Please encourage your mother to call Jamie Richardson, Kinship Navigator, at 419-382-7060, ext. 28 for referral to services, assistance and Kinship Connection meetings.

I'm a retiree looking for work.  Is there anyplace I can go for help in trying to find a job?
You can talk with staff at the Lucas County One-Stop at (419) 868-8430.  The office is located at 5454 Airport Hwy. At the One-Stop, you can get help with updating computer skills, work on a resume, create a cover letter, and discuss what skills you have that might transfer to another type of work you have not thought of before. In the One-Stop's Resource Room you can explore job availabilities on the internet, look through the local job listing notebook, use the copier and fax free of charge. Veterans can also find help at the One-Stop by talking with the Vet Representatives.  Another service, specifically for folks with lower incomes, is called Experience Works, located at 615 Cherry Street.  The phone number is 419-255-7102. 
Question: I'm hearing rumors that the State of Michigan is going to pass a law that requires us to sign over our "assets" if we enter into a nursing home situation.   Do you know anything about this? 

Answer:   Many regulations related to long term care are specific to the state in which the older adult resides. For this question we must refer you to experts in Michigan. Please contact your local area agency on aging (Our office can be contacted to obtain a telephone number and/or address) or the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging, 611 W. Ottawa St., P.O. Box 30676, Lansing, MI 48909-8176. PHONE:(517)373-0404.
The following information may also be of assistance to you:   Federal legislation called the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (OBRA 1993) involves the recovery of certain paid Medicaid funded expenses from the estates of deceased Medicaid recipients aged 55 and over.  In Ohio, this is called "Estate Recovery" and was implemented in January 1995 under Ohio Revised Code Section 5111.11.   Estates are billed for Medicaid covered expenses, such as nursing home care, home care, hospital care, medication, physician visits, therapy, etc. Recovery from the estate will be made only after the death of a surviving spouse, and if there are no minor or disabled children.  There is however, no signing over of assets up front at the time of nursing home admission.

Question:   My wife died in the summer of 2002.  We just got a bill in March of 2003 from one of the doctors.  It had been denied by Medicare because they said the time limit had passed.  Since Medicare would have paid if it had been sent on time by the doctor, is there any recourse I can take in this matter?    
Answer:  The OSHIIP (Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program) representative says that the time limit for payment of Medicare is up to 24 months.  She suggests you file an appeal with Medicare for payment.  You should have received an Appeal Form with the notice of denial of payment.  If you do not have an Appeal Form, you can call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (633-4227) and ask that an appeal form be sent to you.  If you have any further questions, call OSHIIP in Lucas County at 419-382-7060 or outside Lucas County the number is 1-800-686-1575. 
Question:   My 81-year-old dad lives with me in a house that I own.  How can I ensure that, if something happens to me, my dad can live here as long as he wants?    
Answer:  This question should be answered by an attorney.  If you are 60 or older and meet low income guidelines, you might be able to receive advice from Legal Services of Northwest Ohio. Call 419-724-0460 for an appointment.  If you are not “low income,” call the Toledo Bar Association Attorney Referral Service at 419-242-2000.

Question: I had to take my aunt to the emergency room last night because she had fallen in her kitchen.  She didn’t have any fractures and was released in a few hours.  She’s slightly forgetful but manages her affairs pretty well so far.  She fell a few months ago too and I’m concerned about her safety.  Her doctor says she can’t keep falling like this and needs 24-hour care.  I always promised her I’d never put her in a nursing home and besides, aren’t nursing homes expensive?  What about Assisted Living?  Does Medicare pay for that?  I know she doesn’t have much money and she wants to stay in her own home.  My sister and I stop in frequently and check on her.  What should we do?

Answer:  Decisions about Long Term Care are very difficult and can be very confusing.  There are many alternatives to choose from these days.  The Care Coordinators (all Social Workers or Registered Nurses) with Options for Independence at the Area Office on Aging can answer many of your questions.  Medicare coverage for nursing homes is limited to skilled nursing care, not custodial or chronic care and even admission to a nursing home won’t prevent your aunt from falling.  Assisted Living in Ohio has not been standardized and currently, there is no government program that pays for it.  Perhaps your aunt would benefit from an emergency response system which would allow her to call for help if she fell.  Call the experts at Options for Independence for a free consultation and let our Care Coordinators help 419-382-0624.

I live California.  Recently, while visiting my mother in Toledo, I was shocked to see how thin and frail she had become.  Her memory seems pretty good but she isn’t taking care of herself very well.  She wears the same dress for several days and her hair needs washing.  When I asked her about bathing she dismissed my question and said she manages with a daily sponge bath.  I worry that she’s not eating regularly either.  I want to try and help my mother but I’m not sure what to do and where to turn.  I don’t know what kind of help is available or anything about the costs involved. Can you help me?
Answer: Long distance caregiving can be very challenging.  Let the professionals from Options for Independence through the Area Office on Aging guide you through the wide range of preventative and supportive services available for older adults wishing to remain independent.  At no cost to you, our Care Coordinators (all Licensed Social Workers or Registered Nurses) will conduct a full clinical assessment of your mother’s functional and cognitive strengths and weaknesses.  After identifying what your mother needs, Options will develop a Plan of Care with you and your mother, (again at no cost) to determine what services are most appropriate.  Options Care Coordinators can provide information, assistance, and linkage to home care services.  They can also continue to work with you and your mother to monitor the provision of those services.  It sounds like your mother may need home delivered meals and a nursing assistance to help her with her personal care.  For information and more importantly, peace of mind, give Options a call at 419-382-0624.

Question: I have heard so much about the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. What is it and am I eligible to participate?
Answer: The Ohio Department of Aging and the Area Office on Aging have received a grant from the USDA to provide locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs to low-income senior citizens in Northwestern Ohio. The purpose of the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is to improve the nutritional health of low-income seniors and to increase business for local farmers and help keep the local farmer in existence. Anyone who is 60 years of age or older at the time of application, with an annual income of $16,613 or less for a single person, or $22,422 or less for a household of two, is eligible for the program. Applications are accepted and coupons distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at selected distribution sites in Northwest Ohio. Coupons are distributed on the 1st through the 15th of each month. Contact your distribution site for the exact times, days, and procedure they will be using to distribute coupons as they vary from site to site. Eligible participants receive six, five-dollar coupons valid for the months of June and July, and four, five-dollar coupons per month from August through October. Coupons can only be redeemed for fresh, locally grown, authorized produce and herbs from participating farmers who sell produce at farmers’ markets or roadside stands. Coupons cannot be redeemed at local grocery stores. Homebound seniors may designate a proxy who will be responsible for picking up the coupons and produce for the participants. For more information about the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program or for a list of coupon distribution sites, call the Area Office on Aging at 419-382-0624.

Question: Who is eligible for the Meals and Elderly Nutrition Programs?
Answer: The Meals and Elderly Nutrition Programs provide nutrition education and nutritionally balanced meals to those who are 60 years of age or older and to their spouse regardless of age. With the high cost of utilities, prescriptions, and medical needs, senior citizens sometimes face the agonizing choice of either paying for necessary living items or purchasing food. When many seniors are already at an increased health risk, nutrition is of the utmost concern to help reduce colds and illnesses. The Elderly Nutrition Program offers a variety of meal choices and nutrition programs to fit everyone’s lifestyle.

Question: Where can I receive meals for senior citizens?
Answer: Senior citizens may attend local senior dining sites to socialize, meet new friends, join in some fun activities, learn some interesting facts, and receive a hot meal. Most dining sites are located in senior centers, senior housing facilities, churches, temples, or other community buildings. There are 58 senior dining sites throughout the ten counties of Northwestern Ohio. For more information about senior dining site locations, call the Area Office on Aging at 419-382-0624 or to obtain a list of senior dining sites, go to the Area Office on Aging’s website at under the Meals and Elderly Nutrition Programs.

Question: How can I get to these sites if I do not drive or have any other transportation?
Answer: Transportation is provided to most senior dining sites via senior center transport vehicles which are handicapped accessible. If you are unable to provide your own transportation to the dining sites, please call the dining site closest to you to request for transportation arrangements. In Lucas County, seniors may receive TARTA bus cards to use for transportation to the meal sites.

Question: When are the meals offered?
Answer: Most dining sites offer a hot noon-time meal daily. The exact time of service varies from site to site, please contact your local senior dining site for service hours. Evening meals and weekend meals are also provided at some senior dining sites. In Lucas County, evening meals are offered every Tuesday at the Margaret L. Hunt Senior Center in South Toledo and at Sylvania Senior Center at 5:00 pm. Sunday meals are offered in Lucas County at the Margaret L. Hunt Senior Center, Sylvania Senior Center and Vistula Manor at 12:30 pm. Wood County offers evening meals every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at the Wood County Senior Center in Bowling Green. Other counties vary on days they offer evening meals, please call your local senior center to obtain time and dates of evening meals offered.

Question: Is there a cost for the meals?
Answer: Meals are funded in part by the Older Americans Act and are offered on a donation basis. Donations are voluntary and confidential. Most dining sites encourage a suggested donation. The suggested donations vary from county to county, but range from $1.75 to $3.00. Families may obtain gift meal coupons from most dining sites as well.

Question: Is there a choice in the meals provided? Are therapeutic meals or special diets provided?
Answer: Menus are printed up monthly for viewing. The meals furnished through the Elderly Nutrition Program provide one-third the daily recommended nutritional requirements. A few choices in the selection of your foods can be made. If you are on a Diabetic Diet or on a No Added Salt (4 g. Sodium) Diet, you can elect to receive a low salt entree or a no concentrated sweet dessert. Most sites offer a choice of milk-skim, 2%, or whole milk. Wood County dining sites also offer a choice of entrees, as well as the choice of no concentrated sweets or no added salt items. Some senior dining sites offer an alternative of a Chef Salad.

Question: How do I sign up for meals?
Answer: Contact your local senior dining site as one-day advanced reservations are required at all senior dining site meals. Sign-up sheets for an entire week are available at the senior dining sites to sign up for all or selected days and meals.

Question: Are there activities provided before or after the meals at the senior dining sites?
Answer: Many senior dining sites in Northwest Ohio are offering "Meals with Appeal," which includes two fun days or ethnic meals per week. Activities are provided which coordinate with the meals to help stimulate and encourage fun and laughter. Senior centers offer a variety of activities from card games and BINGO, to ceramics and arts and crafts or quilting, to line dancing, to special guest speakers on a variety of topics, to parties, to trips, and an array of senior events. As the exact activities and events vary from site to site, contact your local dining site for a list of activities, trips, and other events offered.

Question: Are there Nutrition Education Programs offered at the senior dining sites?
Answer: Nutrition Education is offered at the senior dining sites. Up-to-date nutrition information is provided to the seniors in fun and exciting ways. Guest speakers provide a variety of fun and interesting nutrition or cooking topics, such as cooking for one or two, food safety, and a variety of nutrition topics. Other health screenings, counseling, fitness, and fun programs are also offered at many of the dining sites. Call your local senior center for their current listing of events.

Question: I have diabetes. Are there any special nutrition programs available at the senior dining sites for diabetics?
Answer: Because diabetes in older adults is a major health concern, the Area Office on Aging now provides a Diabetes Education Program for those living with and/or caring for someone with diabetes at several of the senior centers in Northwest Ohio. This program is presented by a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. This program provides: 1) One-on-one, ten minute education sessions with the Dietitian to address individual concerns about managing diabetes; and 2) a 45 minute group learning activity, in which tips, ideas, and recipes are provided to help you in your daily living with diabetes. There is no cost to participate in this program if you are eligible for senior programs. Contact your local senior center for a schedule of the diabetes education program.

Question: My loved ones are no longer able to attend senior centers or cannot prepare meals at home, how can I obtain home delivered meals for them?
Answer: Persons 60 years of age or older who are homebound and unable to shop or prepare their own meals may be eligible for home delivered meals. Throughout the ten counties of Northwestern Ohio, nutritionally sound, hot home delivered meals are available for homebound seniors daily. Home delivered meals provide a daily visit to the homebound senior to offer a little socialization, a personal touch, and a brief visual check on their general well-being.

Question: How are these meals delivered and do I have to be home to receive them?
Answer: The meals are delivered by volunteers or paid van or Hot Shot drivers depending on the county. Meals are delivered between 10:30 am to 1:30 pm. For food safety issues, the home delivered meal client must be at home at the time of meal delivery. Arrangements can be made for an occasional time when the home delivered meal client will be gone for doctors appointments, dialysis, etc. On some occasions, a five pack of frozen meals can be delivered one time per week on a day when the home delivered meal client is home and is not receiving dialysis or other medical treatments on that day.

Question: Is there a cost for home delivered meals?
Answer: Home delivered meals are funded in part by the Older Americans Act and are offered on a donation basis. Donations are voluntary and confidential. A suggested donation is encouraged. The suggested donations vary from county to county, but range from $1.75 to $3.50. In some areas, the suggested donation may be higher for the home delivered meals than a local senior dining site suggested meal donation to help with the additional cost of delivery, especially in rural areas. Families may purchase gift meal coupons from their local senior center to help defray the cost of the home delivered meals. For more information on the delivery of one hot noon meal per day, please contact Lucas County Senior Nutrition at 419-385-2532. For those homebound seniors with a very limited income and asset base, you may qualify for PASSPORT and receive your meals through the PASSPORT services. For more information on obtaining Home Delivered Meals and PASSPORT services, call the Area Office on Aging at 419-382-0624.

Question: Is there a choice in the home delivered meals provided? Are therapeutic meals or special diets provided?
Answer: Menus are printed up monthly for viewing. The meals furnished through the Elderly Nutrition Program provide one-third the daily recommended nutritional requirements. A few choices in the selection of your foods can be made. If you are on a Diabetic Diet or on a No Added Salt (4 g. Sodium) Diet, you can elect to receive a low salt entree or a no concentrated sweet dessert. Most sites offer a choice of milk-skim, 2%, or whole milk. Wood County offers a choice of entrees, as well as the choice of no concentrated sweets or no added salt items to their home delivered meal clients. In some areas, therapeutic diets or Kosher meals are available. Frozen meals are provided for those needing evening or weekend meals.

In some areas, private organizations offer "Meals on Wheels" or home delivered meals. These private organizations charge a set fee for their services. Some offer one meal a day and others offer three meals per day. Some offer food choices and some offer therapeutic diets. Mobile Meals of Toledo provides three cold meals per day for a charge or with cost sharing. They are delivered by volunteers Monday through Friday and require a method to heat the meals. Weekend meals are also available and would be delivered on Fridays. For more information on Mobile Meals of Toledo’s programs call 419-255-7806 or visit Mobile Meals’ Website at . For a list of other private organizations providing local home delivered meals, call the Area Office on Aging at 419-382-0624 or visit the Area Office on Aging’s website at under the link to other area Meals on Wheels programs.

Question: In case of bad weather or other emergencies will the home delivered meal be delivered?
Answer: "Heater meals" or shelf-stable are provided to each home delivered meal client to keep and use in case of an emergency when meals cannot be delivered due to the weather or other extenuating circumstances.

Question: Is there a grocery delivery service available for home bound seniors?
Answer: Mobile Meals provides a grocery delivery service to many area senior housing facilities. For a list of area senior housing sites where this service is available, please call Mobile Meals of Toledo’s at 419-255-7806.

Question: Can I volunteer at the senior dining sites or help to deliver meals to homebound seniors?
Answer: The senior dining sites gladly accept volunteers for an array of services and activities. Contact your local senior dining site for more information on volunteering. To volunteer to help deliver meals to homebound seniors, contact your local senior center or Mobile Meals of Toledo at 419-255-7806. For a list of local senior dining sites, contact the Area Office on Aging at 419-382-0624 or visit the website at under Meals and Elderly Nutrition Programs, Senior Dining Sites.

As each senior’s nutritional situation is unique, inquiries about Elderly Meals and Nutrition Programs are welcome at any time. Email us at: or call the Area Office on Aging at 419-382-0624

Question: What assistance is there for my 62 year old mother?
Answer: Assistance, which your mother, and others 60 and older, are eligible for, is based on her physical need and financial eligibility.  The Area Office on Aging offers a Care Choice Ohio Assessment, which is a free in-home consultation with you, regardless of your age, with a Registered Nurse or Licensed Social Worker to discuss community options, specific to your mother’s needs.  In addition, PASSPORT is an option for Medicaid eligible seniors, who are at high risk for being placed in a nursing home but would rather have care at home.  PASSPORT can supply personal care and homemaking assistance, home delivered meals, medical transportation, an emergency response system, and more to seniors who would otherwise be in the nursing facility under Medicaid.  The Area Office also offers other services through programs such as Options for Independence, and Caregiver Support. 


Question:  I can’t afford my medications. What is available to assist me?
Answer:  The Area Office on Aging offers a Care Choice Ohio Assessment, which is a free in-home consultation with a Registered Nurse or Licensed Social Worker to discuss community options, including medication assistance programs. These programs include Medicaid, Veterans administration benefits, drug manufacturers’ discount cards, and drug manufacturers’ sample programs.  They will also evaluate your eligibility for other programs.  Utilizing these programs could leave more of your income available for you to spend on things other than medicines.

Question: How can I get an older adult directory of services for my mother, who is a senior citizen?
Answer:  Call the Area Office (419-382-0624) on Aging and ask for Sam Baldwin.  The Older Adult Resource Guide costs $5.00, but the guides are free to seniors unable to pay.  (If you request the guide to be mailed to you, there will be an additional $3 charge.)

Question:  I am 19 and want to be a RN. I am trying to find a job to prepare me for this. Would working in a place like your building help? If so are you hiring at your location!
Answer:  Thank you for your question concerning becoming an RN and your interest in working for our organization. The Area Office on Aging has many professionals working as licensed social workers, RNs and many other important positions that help us to better serve seniors aged 60 and older. For general information, you can visit our web site at and click on Services & Programs. We also urge you to call Area Office on Aging at (419) 382-0624 ext. 123 and speak to Jayne who is an experienced supervisor of clinicians.
Question:   I was hoping that you could provide me with some information on dementia and Alzheimer care for my Dad.  I beleive that he is entering the early phases of the disease according to his doctor. What should we do diffrently now that he has been diagnosed and what can your orginization offer as support?
Answer:   The Area Office on Aging has numerous organizations to refer you to for answers to your questions and other services and support. First, one can visit the Area Office on Aging web site and look for Alzheimer's Care, also explore the section of Caregivers.  We urge you to call the Area Office on Aging at 419-382-0624 and ask for the PASSPORT screening department where knowledgeable clinicians will discuss your Dad's dementia and care with you.  There are several Adult Care Centers that offer services for Alzheimer's Care in the area of adult day care to which the clinicians might refer you.
Question:  The Sylvania Senior Center puts out an 8 page ad about what is happening for FREE, but charges $0.10 for a one sheet monthly menu. Why?
Answer:   The Sylvania Senior Center tells me that they charge the 10 cents to defray the cost of paper and copying.  As you must know, they also post the monthly menus on the bulletin boards at the Center. Since you're interested in nutrition matters, we invite you to go to our web site and click on Meals & Elderly Nutrition Programs -- you'll no doubt find some interesting items there.  If you need further assistance, please call the Sylvania Senior Center at 419-885-3913 and ask to talk with the executive director, Ms. Julie Gras.