Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Resources for Older Citizens and Caregivers
By commrels @ 7:22 AM :: 2525 Views
Frequently older adults, families and caregivers do not know where to turn for assistance when choosing to remain in their homes and communities (aging in place). The circumstances are prominently displayed when visiting during a weekend or for special occasions. Families discover that their loved ones need support to safely remain in their homes. They may need assistance with meals, transportation, personal hygiene, and financial management (timely bill payment). Thankfully, Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) are available to assist with satisfying these and other needs.

Area Agencies on Aging were organized under the federal Older Americans Act to serve as community focal points. There are nearly 700 AAAs throughout the United States and 25 in Virginia, including Senior Connections, The Capital Area Agency on Aging, headquartered in Richmond, with service locations in all the other jurisdictions in Planning District 15: Charles City, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent and Powhatan. Senior Connections has served older adults and caregivers since 1973. Senior Connections’ mission is to empower older adults with dignity and choice. With supports and resources, many older adults are able to remain in their homes and communities for as long as possible. Senior Connections, a private non-profit agency, is a resource for older citizens and plays a key leadership role in facilitating collaboration among service providers. Senior Connections has joined with the Department of Gerontology at VCU to facilitate implementation of the Region’s first Age Wave Initiative. Other partners are the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg and the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission. The Age Wave Initiative is responsible for assembling a leadership group to address the needs of our aging population, identifying successful programs, and promoting opportunities for all age groups.

Area Agencies on Aging strive to meet the needs of our rapidly growing population of older persons. Between now and the year 2030, our population of persons aged 60 and over will nearly double. For Virginia, this population will grow from 1 million to just about 2 million, and in the Richmond Region, the current 170,000 persons in this age category will grow to almost 350,000, with those age 85 and over as the fastest growing group. This unprecedented growth is replete with challenges and opportunities. Our older citizens are valuable resources and can be counted on as volunteers for numerous causes. Area Agencies on Aging will continue to join with community partners to find creative and cost effective ways to deliver services. In Richmond, Senior Connections finances and manages several contracts for home delivered meals with Meals on Wheels at FeedMore, Inc., with local adult day centers for respite services to support caregivers and with transportation providers for rides to get seniors and individuals with disabilities to and from medical appointments and other critical locations. Further, Senior Connections joins with many community partners to provide meals and activities at 20 Friendship Cafes strategically located throughout the Richmond Metropolitan area. We also offer opportunities for volunteerism and training. These are just a few of the numerous programs available from Senior Connections and other Area Agencies Aging that are supported by the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), federal funding sources such as the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), local governments, foundations and donors.