By Mark Boutwell, Executive Director
When I was in high school, the only senior prom I went to was as a sophomore. On April 28 this year, I will have another chance to attend a “Senior Prom” – this one hosted by Senior Solutions. You are all invited – senior or not.
2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of what is now known as Senior Solutions the Council on Aging for Southeastern Vermont. To celebrate, we are planning several events to highlight our journey over the past 50 years. Here’s a brief history.
In 1973, amendments to the Older Americans Act established area agencies on aging (AAAs) throughout the country. The Windham Regional Commission launched the first Vermont area agency on aging: The Council on Aging for Southeastern Vermont (COASEV). After nine years of operation solely in Windham County, in 1974 the Windham Regional Commission expanded COASEV client advocacy and meal programs into southern Windsor County. Eleven years later, Senior Services of Southeastern Vermont (SSSEVT) was established under the Windham Regional Commission as a nonprofit and secured 501©(3) status in 1986. During this period, SSSEVT was instrumental in establishing adult day programs throughout Southeastern Vermont. Two of these are still in operation.
1991 saw a name change back to Council on Aging of Southeastern Vermont and in 1996 we became independent from the Windham Regional Commission, moving our main office to Springfield.
The Care Partners Program, established in 2001, assigned case managers to major physician practices to work with at-risk seniors on increasing their compliance with their medical care plans. Around this time, state statutes designated AAAs as mandated service providers for individuals identified with self-neglecting behavior. This called for a further expansion of our case management services. And in 2005, the Medicaid Choices for Care state waiver established a revenue stream for AAAs such as COASEV to bill for home and community-based case management services.
Federal funds for establishing “Aging and Disability Resource Centers” (ADRCs) enabled COASEV to expand the Senior HelpLine to create a more comprehensive information, assistance and referral front door to benefits and resources for seniors. With additional funding in 2014 to implement No Wrong Door programming, Senior Solutions sent our HelpLine staff to Minnesota for extensive training including developing our Options Counseling services.
2011 brought a change to the trade name: Senior Solutions, as we are now known.
Starting in 2019, our Volunteer Coordinator embarked on a plan to expand our volunteer program which today boasts over 70 recruits. And this year we have launched an ambitious AmeriCorps program to provide respite volunteers to caregivers assisting loved ones living with dementia.
In case you missed your senior prom, or even if you didn’t, please join us on April 28 at the American Legion Hall in Chester for the Senior Solutions “Senior Prom” 50th anniversary celebration. Above are just a few of the milestones of the past 50 years. Join us on April 28 to find out more about our rich history and help us look forward to what’s ahead for Senior Solutions. Stay tuned for more information about our celebrations.