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Forsyth seniors visit Capitol to advocate for legislation
Priorities include dental hygiene, home modifications bills
Senior Week Gilligan WEB
More than 60 senior citizens and advocates from the Forsyth County Senior Center recently met with their legislators in the Gold Dome. - photo by For the Forsyth County News

More than 60 senior citizens and advocates from the Forsyth County Senior Center recently met with their legislators in the Gold Dome to show their support of funding and bills pending in the Georgia legislature.

The meeting — for which local legislators included District 27 state Sen. Michael Williams and District 24 state Rep. Sheri Gilligan — coincided with the annual Senior Week held at the Georgia General Assembly, which is coordinated by the Georgia Council on Aging and brought more than 600 residents to the Capitol.

“We urged him to support these issues, not only for the sake of our area seniors, but for the 1.3 million older adults in need statewide,” said Vicki Johnson, of Cumming.

Three top issues at this halfway point of the Session are a pending $4.2 million in new funding for the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) program and continued support of two dental hygiene senior care bills, Senate Bill 12 and House Bill 154.

The HCBS funding covers home modifications and services including home-delivered meals, adult day care and respite care.

“Some 9,000 Georgia seniors are on waiting lists for in-home services that would allow them to stay home with support and save significant taxpayer dollars,” said Sherry Treco-Jones, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Council on Aging, a 20-person council created in 1977 by the Georgia General Assembly to advise the governor, legislators and state agencies on “matters relating to Georgia’s seniors.”

Dental hygiene bills would expand the oral health care workforce to decrease barriers to access, “particularly in the underserved and vulnerable population.”

The Family Care Act will be introduced shortly, Treco-Jones said, which would “enable people to use their sick time to care for their loved ones.”

Members on the council draw from every region of the state, advocating for aging Georgians and their families and making “recommendations to lawmakers and agencies on programs for seniors.”