Barry Dickson

October 3, 2012

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Staff Writer

With an exploding population of older adults, Delaware County will recognize their contributions to society throughout the month of May.

Commissioners on Thursday approved a resolution recognizing May as Older Americans Month and congratulating local older adults for “the important contributions that they have made and continue to make in Delaware County to our families, communities and society.”

Delaware County is the fastest growing of Ohio’s 88 counties, and a recent study found that it is the most rapidly aging state in the county, too. The study found that the number of Delaware County residents age 65 and older increased 83 percent from 2000 to 2010. The next closest county, Noble, saw its Medicare eligible population increase 65.7 percent over the same period.

With more than 30,000 older adults, one in eight county residents are more than the age of 60. By 2020, that number is expected to increase to about one in five residents.

“As fast as Delaware County is growing as a whole, our older population is growing even faster,” said Bob Horrocks, executive director of the Delaware County Council for Older Adults, which serves more than 900 older individuals each year.

“That’s going to bring some challenges for us,” he added, “but there’s also a lot of opportunity there.”

Combined with a thriving population of younger and very affluent residents, “it really does make a great mix in this county,” commissioner Dennis Stapleton said.

As part of recognizing the month, John McDavid, a volunteer logging more than 1,000 hours annually serving senior-focused organizations, will be inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame for his contributions.

The Council for Older Adults will also a hold a Caregivers Recognition Day. Roughly 170 local caregivers will be delivered flowers, a small gift and a letter of appreciation for their work.

Commissioner Tommy Thompson urged older county residents to share their wisdom and experience with today’s youth.

“I would encourage all seniors, you have a lot of expertise and a lot of talent, share that with the young folks because they are the leadership of tomorrow,” he said. “So give them what you got.”

The commissioner also on Thursday:

  • Unanimously approved a resolution declaring May as Building Safety Month in the county. The resolution urges “all county residents and those doing business in Delaware County to work with our building officials and fire officials on achieving building safety and sustainability.”
  • Gave assistant county prosecutor Aric Hochstettler the go-ahead to negotiate the terms of an agreement that would allow the county to connect the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities (DCBDD) to an underground fiber optic network. The DCBDD is expected to reimburse the county for the cost as funds become available. However, because the county prosecutor’s office represents both the commissioners and the DCBDD, they were required to approve a measure acknowledging and waiving the inherent conflict of interest.
  • Changed the start time of the May 24 meeting to 1 p.m., but not without a bit of controversy. The meeting was moved so that county officials can attend a 9 a.m. ODOT District 6 meeting. Commissioner Ken O’Brien requested that the meeting be pushed back. “I certainly have no problem moving a meeting when it’s inconvenient and this sounds appropriate, totally appropriate, but I think it would be good to have time when all three of us could attend,” he said. However, Stapleton, the board of commissioners president, declined the request, citing a previous commitment to a group of veterans that plan to make a presentation that day.