April 17, 2013
Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
WHEELERSBURG — The Area Agency on Aging District 7 (AAA7) enjoyed beautiful, sunny weather Wednesday afternoon during a ribbon cutting ceremony at its new Wheelersburg office.
The AAA7 was created in 1972 in four counties and by 1980 included 10 counties. Moving several times since its beginning, the agency was most recently located on 11th Street in Portsmouth. In December it moved into a new building on Ohio River Road in Wheelersburg, built especially for them by Dr. Mouhib Kalo whose office is located next door. The new office is smaller, but built to accommodate 40 employees who work out of the office in the homes of AAA7 clients in Scioto and Lawrence counties.
“We probably started planning a year ago. We started assessing where our clients are out of this office. We’re serving between 1,500 and 1,600 consumers in Scioto and Lawrence counties,” said Debbie Gulley, longterm care programs director for the AAA7. “Over the years, as technology develops, a lot of my staff visit people in their homes. That’s where the work happens. Now they’ve got computers and they’re out and about, not doing the work from the office. So it made a lot of sense to come to a central location for the two counties.”
There are 12 agencies across Ohio, and District 7 is the largest geographic territory of them all with 5,120 square miles. District 7 has offices at the University of Rio Grande, West Union, Waverly, and now in Wheelersburg. The agency serves about 87,000 seniors, age 65 and older, in their 10-county region.
“For some time now, we’ve been serving people who are under 60 and that’s going to continue. The federal government just recently combined the administration on aging with the disabilities group, and it’s not longer the federal administration on aging. It’s called ACL — the Administration on Community Living, because now it’s aging and disabilities,” Matura said.
The agency is also the first Area Agency in Ohio to partner with an all-Ohio VA regional medical center to provide services to veterans of all ages.
“We can serve veterans age 19 and age 90, and we’ve only done this for less than a year. Twenty-three other states have done this and we are the third largest in the nation already, and the number one rural program in the nation; just in less than a year,” Matura said.
The office also offers an ombudsman program, adult day services, care consultation and management, congregate meals, home repair, legal services, nursing home transition, transportation, wellness programs and more.
“Aging is everybody’s business. We’re aging from the moment we’re born, and everybody around is aging,” Matura said. “You may not need us today, but you might need us six months from now, or two years from now.”
For more information about the AAA7 and its services, visit their new office at 8050 Ohio River Road in Wheelersburg or online at www.aaa7.org, or call toll-free 1-800-582-7277. The AAA7 is also available on Facebook.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTWriter.