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 September 28, 2016 - More senior citizens receiving meals and being protected from crime thanks to cost saving measure by Dauphin County Commissioners

HARRISBURG, PA (September 28, 2016) – More senior citizens are receiving meals and being protected from abuse thanks to a $300,000 annual savings generated by the Dauphin County Commissioners’ decision to outsource meal preparation for senior programs.

Since December 2014, food for the county’s Meals on Wheels program and for its senior centers has been prepared by York-based Nutrition Group Inc. – generating $300,000 in annual savings that the Dauphin County Area Agency on Aging is using to meet increasing needs.

Specifically, two additional investigators have been hired to deal with double-digit increases in mainly financial crimes against seniors and the number of meals delivered to home-bound seniors as well as to senior centers has increased.

“Initially I did have concerns about outsourcing, but seniors tell us that the meals are better than ever and the savings is allowing us to help more people,’’ said Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III, who oversee the county’s Human Services. “This is a truly a win for county taxpayers as well as for our older residents who depend on these services.’’

Between 2014 and 2015, the number of elderly abuse cases increased by 60 percent to 778 and this year the county is on track to investigate more than 800 allegations. Most of the cases involve either neglect or financial exploitation – many times by a family member or trusted caregiver. In addition to working with the district attorney to pursue charges, every effort is made to get restitution, as well as to install a court-appointed guardian to ensure against further problems.

Additionally, for families looking after older loved ones, the county can in extreme cases, increase the amount of personal care offered from an hour one or two days a week to three days. Personal care includes assistance with bathing, meals and light housekeeping. 

“Dauphin County is fortunate to be one of the few counties without a waiting list for services and the savings we are seeing from outsourcing our kitchen continues to make that possible,’’ said board Chairman Jeff Haste. “Our continuous focus on ways to save money without decreasing service is one way we have held the line on property taxes for the past 11 years.’’

The savings are also allowing the county, which oversees the home delivery of more than 160,000 meals annually thanks to volunteers with the Meals on Wheels program, to distribute lunches to three new meal sites, frequented by more than 50 residents a week.

“With the expected rise in the number of seniors who will need assistance, it is important for us to constantly look to see where we can do more with our limited resources,’’ Commissioner Mike Pries said. “Providing a safety net for some of our most vulnerable residents is one of the most important jobs we do as county commissioners.’’​

Category: Dauphin County
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