November 1, 2000
Jayne O'Connor (609) 777-2600
Dennis McGowan (DHSS) (609) 984-7160
Seniors and family caregivers will be hearing, seeing and learning a lot more about the NJ EASE toll-free senior helpline thanks to a new multi-media public awareness campaign unveiled today by Governor Christie Whitman at the Lawrence Senior Center.
The number - 1-877-222-3737 - provides one-stop-shopping for seniors and their family members seeking information and services in New Jersey. The number has just gone nationwide, allowing out-of-state family members to get help for their loved ones residing here.
"NJ EASE is the easy way to access the many vital programs available in New Jersey to help seniors stay healthy, active and independent," said Whitman.
"Rather than calling agency after agency and getting lost in voice mail," Whitman said, "seniors calling NJ EASE get real help from real people, people trained to help callers learn about and apply for the services they need." Once help is provided, NJ EASE care managers keep in touch with seniors to ensure services continue to meet their needs.
The Governor said that, through the state's partnership with the county Offices on Aging, more than 200,000 seniors and their families have been helped.
Joining the governor at today's campaign launch were Health and Senior Services Commissioner Christine Grant, Deputy Commissioner for Senior Services William Conroy, Mercer County Executive Robert Prunetti, county Offices on Aging directors, service providers, caregivers and seniors - including some seniors who appear in the campaign's television ad.
"Knowing who to call when you need help is half the battle," said Commissioner Grant. "This campaign drives home the message that seniors can now remember just one number -
1-877-222-3737 - to get answers to their questions and services that meet their needs."
Grant said the $495,000 one-year awareness campaign is targeted to seniors and their caregivers. It features newspaper ads; television and radio spots; outdoor billboards and bus panel advertising; posters and banners, as well as brochures and specialty advertising. Printed materials and advertisements have been produced in both English and Spanish.
In campaign radio and television ads, real seniors - not actors - ask questions heard in county Offices on Aging and other social service agencies every day, such as "How can I tell if my father is getting Alzheimer's?" and "Can anyone help me with my Medicare bills?" The ads say that whether seniors have questions on healthcare, transportation, insurance, social activities or long-term care options, a call to NJ EASE will help them sort out their choices.
NJ EASE is a state initiative developed in partnership with county governments to create a new and easy way for seniors and their family members to learn about services within their communities. To date, 20 of New Jersey's 21 counties have completed training and fully implemented NJ EASE. Hunterdon County is expected to come on-line with NJ EASE by the end of the year.
Calls to the NJ EASE helpline during regular business hours are answered by trained, knowledgeable Office on Aging staff from the caller's home county. Out-of-state calls or in-state calls from persons seeking services in other counties are forwarded toll-free to the appropriate county NJ EASE office. After-hours calls are returned on the next business day.
For more information on NJ EASE and the public awareness campaign, visit the Department of Health and Senior Services' website at www.state.nj.us/health.