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TAOA hopes to help seniors with their food vouchers

Territorial Administration on Aging director Ale Tifimalae has confirmed that his office is looking at solutions to halt the use of monthly food vouchers by family members of senior citizens, as the monthly food vouchers are meant to provide financial support for the territory’s seniors.


Ale said one way to prevent or halt this problem is for TAOA staff to constantly visit the homes of citizens, who have been facing this type of situation, to advise and work with family members taking care of their elderly.  According to the director, family should carefully watch over the food vouchers which are to be used to help the senior citizens themselves; they are not for family members.


Ale said this problem surfaced following home visits by TAOA staff, who check on senior citizens that are home-bound. He said TAOA staff were told by some of the home-bound seniors about their family members not doing the right thing with their food vouchers, claiming they are being used for other purposes.


Ale acknowledged this is a long standing problem when it comes to food vouchers, with family members using them for themselves instead of the main purpose, which is to help “our fathers and mothers”.


While he didn’t have the actual number of seniors affected by this problem, Ale did say, “I believe there are a lot of them.” He hopes that family members abusing the food vouchers will end this type of behavior and use them solely for the seniors. (Original Samoan story was printed in the Dec. 27 edition of the Lali/Samoa News)


Meanwhile, TAOA distributed on Tuesday this week — at the usual designated locations — their food vouchers for January.


Food vouchers are usually distributed on the first of each month but because Jan. 1st was New Year’s Day, a holiday, the distribution date was to be moved to Jan. 2. However, requests from Seniors, who wanted financial help for New Year’s Eve and Day preparations, for an early release of food vouchers were received by TAOA.