Nov. 6, 2021 — The COVID pandemic has changed or restricted access to many services by eliminating in-person visits for many city, state, county and federal agencies. Most of these entities have changed to primarily provide online services. In the case of many seniors seeking support, the lack of a computer or a smart phone has proven to be a major impediment to obtaining needed services.
Area resident Tom Scroggins has had trouble accessing the Senior and Disability Services of Lane County.
Now in his 80s and caring for his ailing wife and his own health issues, Scroggins realized he needed assistance.
“I have tried to get some help, but the county never returned my calls, and the office here is closed, so I couldn’t just go there. … Just because I don’t have a computer, and I have problems with my phone, I can’t get any help. It just doesn’t seem right,” Scroggins said.
Eventually, Scroggins’ case reached the ear of Brenda Wilson, executive director of Lane Council of Governments.
“This is most certainly not the consumer experience I want our community members to experience and falls well below my expectations, as I am sure it does for our community members who are relying on our services,” Wilson said.
She began working with the Senior and Disability Service Division Director to direct staff to assist Scroggins’ situation.
Local staff at the Florence office then checked the phone system, where it became evident that the lines were routed to the state instead of the county.
Wilson said the department has corrected the issue.
This also led to Wilson offering her direct phone number to those having issues related to applying for support services.
“If you are in contact with other community members who have not been able to connect with us, please have them reach out to me at my direct number and we will have someone reach out to them,” she said.
For assistance with Senior and Disability Services, people can visit www.lcog.org/sdslane or call 541-682-4283. If unable to connect with the department, people can contact Wilson directly at 541-682-4395.