How to best address the needs and improve the lives of the senior population of Northeast Louisiana resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Louisiana Monroe and Northeast Delta Human Services Authority signed on Aug. 21, 2019.

Northeast Delta HSA is a division of the Office of Behavioral Health of the Louisiana Department of Health. Its Operation Golden Years initiative focuses on serving citizens ages 60 and above with information, support and services.

At the signing, Endowed Professor of Gerontology Dr. Burton Ashworth, who will work directly with the project, recalled meeting with Northeast Delta HSA Executive Director Dr. Monteic A. Sizer to discuss how to help the region’s senior citizens.

“My focus was on 65 years old and up,” said Ashworth, noting that in Ouachita Parish around 18 percent of the 154,000 population is 65 and above. “It’s an important point, but as he began to talk, I recognized, ‘he’s not leaving anyone out.’ … (I had to) start realizing that this is a bigger project than what I had initially thought that it would be.”

“We’re going to get the message out. This is going to increase the visibility of the services that are here, available in our area, and we can educate those individuals and let them know. ULM has resources, some of it free, that they can partake of and also that HSA can show that they have those things,” said Ashworth.

Northeast Delta HSA directs and manages the operation of community-based programs to improve the quality of life of people with major mental illnesses, addictive disorders, and developmental disabilities.

For more information on the progam, call (318) 362-4538.

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