- Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 December 2008 19:25
- Published on Wednesday, 24 December 2008 19:25
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At a meeting last Friday longtime Bay Aging employee Patsy Taylor delivered a briefing to Westmoreland Social Services Board that detailed services the 30-year-old non-private establishment delivers to disabled and elderly residents in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula’s ten counties.
As was reported in last week’s Journal, Bay Aging is in immediate danger of losing $18,961 of the state funding used to support the program known as Meals on Wheels. Another $29,779 supporting adult health services and day-care could be lost.
Earlier this month the Westmoreland Supervisors joined counterparts from the nine other Bay Aging county boards in asking that the General Assembly overturn the funding reduction specified in Governor Tim Kaine’s cost saving measures.
“We have always had a wonderful working relationship with Bay Aging and are very disturbed about the cuts the Governor has proposed,” Westmoreland Social Services Department Director Helen Wilkins told Taylor and the members of the county’s Social Services Board.
“And it now looks like there will be another round of cuts,” Taylor responded. “The prospects aren’t looking very good for the Medicaid recipients, either.”
Taylor noted that Bay Aging’s Meals on Wheels program and Bay Transit are probably “the most visible” of the services offered by that entity.
“We started small thirty years ago, but we have grown,” she said of the services delivered to elderly and disabled members of the community.
Bay Aging is a Medicaid personal care provider, but health services offerings are diverse.
The CareMatch Personal Care Assistant Program encompasses multiple in-home care options which Bay Aging describes as friendly visiting, reading, writing, errands, meal preparation, light housekeeping tasks just about anything else a recipient may request.
“We deliver an array of services to help forestall nursing home placement,” said Taylor of the cost saving alternatives to taxpayer-subsidized payments to expensive nursing homes.
“We work very closely with Social Services here in Westmoreland,” said Taylor.
Wilkins agreed. “We can deliver services more effectively to people who are in crisis when our resources can be pooled.”
Bay Aging’s Home Care program provides long-term care for frail and at-risk housebound individuals who receive assistance with their daily living activities.
That assistance includes help with dressing, bathing, grooming, housekeeping and meals preparation.
Respite for Caregivers is a program that provides opportunities for stress relief and personal time. The In-Home Personal Care program delivers companionship and medical services.
Bay Aging sponsors support groups for local residents who must care for Alzheimer’s patients. The monthly meetings offer both comfort and support. Another program offers mechanisms for contacting aging services throughout the United States.
The Legal Aid component can provide individual representation for legal advice. Another offering is participation in the Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program that “educates, counsels and assists older consumers on medical benefit programs and long-term care insurance.
The Adult Day Break program “addresses the needs of persons age eighteen-plus who are nursing home eligible and who are at the greatest risk of institutionalization,” a Bay Aging brochure advises.
“Most of the clients have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, while the younger adults have sever mental and physical disabilities.” Those individuals can be provided with care and supervision, meals and snacks, activities, health monitoring, games, support and respite groups and mental stimulation.
Bay Aging operates a Retired Senior Volunteer Program most commonly known as RSVP. Over a thousand people from ten different counties share knowledge and expertise, providing friendship and delivering services that reach thousands of individuals.
Active Lifestyle Centers are operated in each of Bay Aging’s ten counties and the one in Colonial Beach is heavily utilized. Centers serve as community focal points provide socialization opportunities through supportive group programs and opportunities for fun.
Not the least of Bay Aging’s local contributions has been its creation of affordable residential communities for the region’s older residents. Bay Aging established a community in Colonial Beach known as The Meadows and established Mill Pond Village and Parker Run in the Montross area.
Bay Family Housing offers opportunities for homeowners and others who desire to own a home. Bay Aging played a major role in Westmoreland County’s Monroe Hall community redevelopment project, and the list of local accomplishments goes on and on and on.
When Westmoreland Housing Coalition ceased its operations, Bay Aging assumed the lead role in administration of the jurisdiction’s indoor plumbing, emergency home repair and weatherization efforts.
Bay Aging delivers urgent need services in coordination with disaster relief initiatives, provides housing counseling and even conducts homebuyer education classes.
The service outreach to the disabled and the elderly provides professionally certified care coordinators who assess individual living situations and determine what may be the best, most cost-effective option. Charges are based on a client’s ability to pay.
To receive Bay Aging’s services, one need not be elderly.
“Our primary mission is to help seniors and people with disabilities of all ages live independently and safely in their own communities for as long as possible,” Taylor emphasized.
“Our plans are guided by the immediate needs of our communities’ seniors and the general demands of our rapidly aging population,” said Bay Aging President Allyn Gemerek.
“One issue remains at the forefront of all others for seniors and people with disabilities – the need for independence, to be able to live their lives with dignity.”
Bay Aging is governed by a Board of Directors appointed by the governing bodies of the member jurisdictions. The Board establishes policy and provides staff oversight.
Programs and services are funded through the Older Americans Act, grants, federal, state and local government contributions and private donations. As local, state, federal and even global economies become increasingly stressed, private donations and volunteerism become more crucial than even in Bay Aging’s 30-year experience.
Tax deductible contributions can be mailed to Bay Aging at P.O. Box 610, Urbanna, VA 23175, with checks payable to the Bay Aging Foundation.
“Donations are not used to subsidize administrative costs,” Taylor stated on Friday. “donated monies are used to support the services we provide.”
“And you’re delivering a lot of wonderful services,” Westmoreland Social Services Board Chair F. C. “Doc” Dugan told Bay Aging employee Patsy Taylor. “Folks have no idea how many things you do. Congratulations for doing such a fine job for all these years.”
“They are wonderful to work with,” Director Wilkins told the members of the Social Services Department Board.
Bay Aging maintains a Montross office and can be reached at 493-0238. “Please tell your readers,” said Taylor, “that we are always happy to accept new volunteers."