The Galt Commission on Aging held a special meeting on Dec. 9, taking several actions to advance its goal of advocating for local older adults.

Most of the actions directly concerned a plan to hear from residents of care homes and communities for older adults about their quality of life and help those with complaints contact the proper agency.

Under a plan of action the commissioners adopted, they would contact the management of a care home and ask to hold a meeting with residents. At the meeting, commissioners would listen to residents’ thoughts and ask them to fill out a survey about the community. Survey respondents have the option to remain anonymous.

If the management declined a meeting, the commission would mail residents the survey, which asks respondents to describe their community’s quality of life, social activities and maintenance level, as well their comments or concerns.

The commission “will provide you with contact information for any governmental agency (Federal, State, or Local), that has oversight responsibilities over your Senior Residence complex, as appropriate, and/or offer to write a Letter to such Agency on your behalf,” a sample survey read.

In addition to approving the plan of action, the commissioners voted 4-0 to allow the mailings it provides for and to pay for the cost of materials. Commissioner Alvin Roberts was absent.

Commissioner Andrea Johnson has offered to personally pay 98% of the $1,150 expenditure; the remainder would come from commission funds or be paid by Commission Chair Bob Balliet.

The commissioners also discussed the possibility of changing the body’s bylaws to better reflect its goals.

Balliet said that, as written, the bylaws prevent the commission from involving itself in negotiations between communities for older adults and residents. The most it can do is put residents in touch with the appropriate regulators.

Currently, the bylaws read, “The purpose of the Commission on Aging is to act as a forum for any and all matters of concern to senior citizens of the City.” Balliet proposed changing “forum” to something reflecting the group’s interest in advocacy.

Such a change would involve the commission passing a resolution, followed by City Council consideration. The commissioners will discuss the topic further at their Jan. 27 regular meeting.