Rebottaro to lead Lenawee County Department on Aging
Tecumseh resident Cari Rebottaro was confirmed by the Lenawee County Board of Commissioners last week to replace Tom MacNaughton as the Lenawee County Department on Aging’s Director. MacNaughton is retiring on April 30 after serving 24 years as director. Rebottaro will assume her duties at the helm on May 1.
Rebottaro left college as an education major, but soon found herself filling in for someone on maternity leave as activities director at Herrick Manor.
“She didn’t come back, and I didn’t leave,” Rebottaro said, adding that she did that job for four years, discovering she enjoyed working with seniors. She also served as Director of the Tecumseh Senior Center for seven years, a job she says taught her a lot.
“I formed relationships there with older adults and have a tremendous respect for their quality of life,” said Rebottaro. “They have a historic value — a wisdom and knowledge — that connects with the past and brings us forward.”
Rebottaro’s current position at the Department on Aging includes providing initial case coordination and support, counseling individuals and caregivers on what’s available for them in the community.
“I help them with their unmet needs, whether it’s nursing home placement or how to find services available to them in Lenawee County,” she said. She also works with Project Ramp, which provides ramps for homes. Another responsibility is to provide with MMAP (Medicare/Medicaid Assist Program) counseling. “It’s basically insurance counseling for anyone who has Medicare.” She also works with seniors through the volunteer tax program, which is coordinated in conjunction with the Community Action Agency.
Rebottaro believes that her experiences in working with seniors have given her invaluable insight as she heads into her new job.
“I’m already familiar with the older adult network, both through agencies and individuals, and I have a strong belief in the services we provide and how we’re providing them,” she said. “There’s a great potential for growth in these areas as the baby boomers get older and we’re also working with an older population than in the past.”
She expects challenges, especially with diminishing budgets and a growing senior population.
“Certainly finances will be one of the biggest challenges,” she said. “And there are more individuals who potentially need services.”
Rebottaro will be working with MacNaughton over the next several weeks and hopes there will be a smooth transition.
“Tom has always been real open about the budget, so it’s more about learning the details, but the budget is definitely an area we’ll be working on together,” Rebottaro said. “At this point, I need to get my foot in the door and keep things as consistent as possible for a little while so that we all can adjust appropriately.” She is pleased that the agency’s staff seem to be comfortable with her promotion.
“I’m honored to have the support that I have here,” she said.
Rebottaro said she expects to practice a visible management style. She will be out and about — including participating in activities and assisting at the agency’s seven senior centers, including Tecumseh’s.
One of MacNaughton’s contributions to the Lenawee Department on Aging was to help the senior centers become more active as he shared his lifelong interest in running. Does Rebottaro have a special area of interest?
“There’s potential to do a lot of different things,” she said. “I guess my special talents are yet to be discovered.”
Rebottaro grew up in Britton and married Andy Rebottaro, from Tecumseh. They have two children, Joey, a senior and wrestler at Tecumseh High School, and Jillian, a sophomore.