Does anyone care about aging Vermonters? Yes– We do!
In tough economic times, it’s common to call for financial restraint in services for disadvantaged citizens. To this end, Senior Solutions has made significant changes in how we serve seniors. We have greatly reduced walk-in service at sites all over our two-county catchment area. We are able to serve many more seniors by offering assistance on the Senior HelpLine.
The economics appear sensible: In our rural area, a case manager can visit up to 4 people in their homes per day, which is 952 assists per year. But a staff person can serve 8-10 people daily on the HelpLine, offering 2480 assists per year. We have changed our practices so that only seniors who are homebound get a home visit. Doesn’t that make sense? Well, honestly I am not so sure.
For some folks, telephone assistance may not be enough. Without person-to-person contact in the home, some needs may not come to our attention. This can lead to eviction, lack of food, no heat, lack of medications, hospitalizations that could have been avoided, or unfortunate nursing home placements. Does anyone care?
As the senior population grows, we are collecting data on the needs of seniors with various impairments who need more than we can offer with our current resources. Senior Solutions’ role is not only to provide solutions for individuals, but to advocate for Vermont’s aging population on these troubling issues.
We will never stop searching for ways to provide the help that seniors need. We’re already forming closer partnerships with other community organizations to help fill the gaps. We are pursuing new funding sources to reduce our dependence on federal and state dollars: finding new donors, applying for new grants, and planning fee-for-service programs (for those seniors who can afford to pay a moderate amount for a valuable service we provide). Plus, an expanded volunteer program including friendly visitors will be launched in 2014.
We trust that, with your help, we will find a way. Because we believe Vermonters do care about the aging population enough to help us create solutions.