Posted tagged ‘Senior Services’

Senior Services Coalition: Part III

November 18, 2009

In this post I consolidated information particular to three of the four Issues identified by the Community Action Plan on Aging (CAPOA).  The fourth issue will be discussed in the next post.  Included are some questions and thoughts relative to each issue.

The issues covered in this post are:  1.  Awareness of and Access to Resources; 2.  Vulnerable Seniors; and 3.  Housing and Neighborhood Support.

First, a restatement of the Mission of the Coalition:  to promote the independence of Seniors, coalition members will collaborate to build, sustain,  and support a comprehensive Senior Services system in James City County, Williamsburg and Upper York County.

Issue 1:  Awareness of and Access to Resources

    DESCRIPTION:  Helping seniors and caregivers to access local community resources

    GOAL OF SSC:  Increase the incidence of seniors to live independently by “promoting coordinated and accessible resources for healthcare and support services.”

Currently, there are local initiatives in place to address this issue:

No Wrong Door; PADRN.org; and United Way Help Line.

My questions:  How does the availability of these providers get to the seniors?  How do the seniors ACCESS the help available?  What services are provided by each?  Counseling?  Phone lists of other service providers, resources?  Face to Face contact?  Are records kept to document the type of services requested and used by seniors?  Are records kept to show where these seniors are living?  Is there an on-going Outreach element to maintain contact with independent seniors?

What exactly does the SSC expect to implement concerning this issue that is different from services already provided?  Are results measurable?  What are the measurements of success?

Issue 2:  Vulnerable Seniors

    DESCRIPTION:  Focus on the needs of “hidden populations” including isolated and frail, low-income, and those with mental health problems.

    GOALS OF SSC: 

    1.  Increase availability and awareness of opportunities to address matters of seniors’ social isolation.   (WHAT?)

    2.  Establish a PACE-like model to expand a safety-net and continuum of care to serve more seniors.

    3.  Enhance supportive services

Existing services and resources to meet needs of this issue:

    SHARP;  The Chronic Care Collaborative – Olde Towne Medical, Lackey Free Medical Clinic, and Angels of Mercy;  PACE;  Meals on Wheels, and Historic Triangle Substance Abuse Coalition

NOTE:  I have to research SHARP and PACE in order to know the meaning of the acronyms.

It seems to me that there are existing local organizations that are specifically suited to provide services for seniors.  It also appears by reading over the Goals that the SSC wishes to become an oversight entity of these service providers, while also tyring to add to their value in minute and confusing ways. 

It is my opinion, at this time, that seniors would be better served by the existing organizations’/services’ updating their own programs and services to meet the demands of the growing, aging population. 

Issue 3:  Housing and Neighborhood Support

    DESCRIPTION:  Offering affordable and accessible housing options, as well as, designing neighborhoods to be age-friendly.

    GOALS of SSC: 

    1.  Provide a variety of quality, affordable and accessible housing options within the community

    2.  Support neighborhoods in maintaining or establishing outreach efforts

Existing initiatives in local area:

    Parker View Housing Complex;  Neighborhood Connections in James City County; and  The Neighborhood Council in Williamsburg

How does the SSC, as a group of networking service providers, expect to “Offer” and “Provide” and “Design” affordable and accessible housing with a high degree of credibility and impact without first establishing itself as an arm of the local government for building permits, planning, zoning and building codes?  Will this Coalition actually be effective in a focused effort of lobbying for affordable housing at city, county, and perhaps, state meetings?  Will this Coalition gather the information necessary to design affordable, accessible senior communities in accordance with what the affected seniors actually need and want?

At this point, this endeavor by the SSC sounds to be wanton wishing:  wantin’ funding to support an organization that cannot be focused and effective in its desired task. 

 Generally, I think it is commendable and useful to INFLUENCE policy by the data and information you’ve amassed  relative to what is being done, currently, by member organizations, as well as using their predictions for the future that will impact their ability to deliver the same services, while also expanding services to meet the needs of an ever-increasing population of Seniors – who, according to recent information, will have more severe health problems than those experienced by Seniors now.

What are your thoughts?  Do you see something I am missing in my evaluation?  What is being done where you live to prepare the community and services for the Age Wave of Older-Americans???

 

Senior Services Coalition: Part II

November 17, 2009

As previously reported, I attended a meeting of the Senior Services Coalition of Greater Williamsburg (SSC) on October 23, 2009.

As a result of that meeting, I wanted to learn more about what this group expects to contribute to the plight of our local (Williamsburg, Virginia) Older-Americans in the coming years.

The foremost question I have is:  What is this group really trying to achieve that is different from what is already being done?

From my initial contact, it appears to me that the paid membership is comprised entirely of organizations (for profit or non-profit) that,  in some way,  provide services to or somehow affect or oversee services and resources for the older consumer.  There is a reduced membership fee for individuals, however, I believe the fee ($50 per year) to be prohibitive for those citizens who are affected the most and who could contribute valuable user-information from their life experience.

At this time, it also appears to me that the work of this organization is being done upon the older community rather than along with it.  My question:  How can the issues that are affecting seniors be addressed accurately and with the passions of need and immediacy if you are not in intimate, on-going contact with those who are affected?  It seems to me that the result of efforts done independent of the target community would tend to benefit the organizers at the expense of the target.

I had to quell these concerns by looking at what the Coalition has done so far and how what they want to do is described.

On their website:  seniorservicescoalition.com is a great deal of information that I was seeking.

I learned that the SSC was created to:  Priority #1: provide opportunity to network (among other providers of senior services).  Matters covered in meetings would be to plan collaborative activities and to become informed of the status of programs.  Initially, therefore, the SSC was focusing on three (3) issues affecting seniors:

1.  Employment

2.  Addiction

3.  Housing

Evidently, Issue 1 is satisfied by the Williamsburg Workforce Center and The United Way and Issue 2 is handled by the Historic Triangle Substance Abuse Coalition.  I’m left wondering if SSC has any muscle to intercede on behalf of the elders who are not amply served by those organizations.

On the face of things, I do not see a focused, concentrated effort on the SSC’s part to gather information specific to Seniors relative to Issues 1 and 2.  How many seniors have been served in the past year?  Current year?  Age range?  Particular problems addressed?  Service provided?  Follow-up?  Results in each case.  Feedback from affected seniors. 

Does the SSC see as part of their service/mission gathering information on how seniors are served with current resources?

The only way the community can evaluate the value and function of service providers is to know WHAT has been done.  The only way the community can know WHAT deficiencies exist in services is to know the results.  If the SSC would develop Base Line Accomplishments for Seniors NOW, that information would be instrumental in creating more effective systems for an ever-increasing population of needy consumers.

In my next post, I will discuss in more depth the Impact Issues identified by the Community Action Plan on Aging (CAPOA).

Are you or someone you know affected by the Older-American services provided and the resources available (or need to be available) where you live?

Do you have suggestions on what I need to research in order to help wherever and however I can in this process?

Thank you.