Wow! What an amazing year the Community Living Services Program at Region 10 has had.

Community Living Services encompasses the Area Agency on Aging (AAA), Aging and Disability Resources for Colorado (ADRC), Long Term Care Ombudsman, and State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) Medicare Counseling. 12,000 clients were served in the 9,800 square mile six county service area (Montrose, Delta, Gunnison, San Miguel, Ouray and Hinsdale County).

Here is a list of our team’s most prominent accomplishments.

The release of our Four Year Plan. The Area Agency on Aging Four Year Plan was completed and made available online: . This plan outlines the direction the AAA headed and addresses the expressed needs of older adults in the region.

The ADRC expanded Options Counseling services to all six counties. Options Counselors work with older and disabled adults to help them acquire and understand resources and support which may help them stay in their community. Open houses were hosted in Gunnison, Delta, North Fork Area, Hinsdale County, Ouray, and the West End of Montrose. These Open Houses were visited by over 400 seniors.

We continue to enhance our staff expertise and knowledge. Region 10 staff attended over 200 hours of professional training.

Our work was recognized by the State of Colorado. The ADRC was asked to present at the State Unit on Aging ADRC conference on Agency Collaboration in August. Region 10 had the largest number of attendees at the conference with 10.

New office space in Delta. Region 10 added an office in Delta located at 145 W 4th St. This office is shared by Delta County Economic Development (DCED), Region 10 Small Business Development, the Medicare SHIP Counselors, and the ADRC Options Counselor.

Caregiver Summit and Retreat was a success. The second annual Caregiver Summit and Retreat in April honored over 130 family caregivers with a day of education, fellowship, and recognition. The 2016 Summit is in the planning stages with some excellent speakers and topics.

We continued our support of local caregivers. Caregiver Support Network added an educational component to the support group. Thirty consumers were served in the Support groups. A peer mentoring program will be added in 2016.

Kinship Connection for Kids was added. A new program—called Kinship Connections for Kids—was created to serve as a support group for parents and other kin who are raising children of relatives. This group also has an education component along with resources, services, benefits, and peer support.

Our team launched REACH. REACH Resources Enhancing Caregiver Health was added as a new program in 2015. Amy Rowan, Danielle McCarthy, and Sandy Walker were certified as REACH Caregiver Coaches.   Amy Rowan also attended the Rosalyn Carter Institute Caregiver Summit in October.

Our team coordinated the first ever ADRC Awareness Month in August. This event was full of fun activities designed to get the word out about available programs and services. The ADRC regional team includes over 40 area partners and consumers helping determine how to best fill the needs of people in the region.

The Snow Bash Challenge was a success despite a mild winter. The Snow Bash Challenge invited our local community to support the elderly and disabled by shoveling snow from their driveways and walkways during last year’s winter season. The Montrose High School National Honor society won the contest.

We added Medicare Counseling to our ever-expanding list of services. SHIP was added this year, and it has proven to be a vital component that compliments the CLS mission. This program is supported with six, well-trained, and dedicated volunteer Medicare Counselors who can assist with a wide variety of Medicare questions including helping consumers find the best part B & D plans. They also help with benefit questions and potential Medicare fraud concerns. SHIP counselors will be located in each county throughout the month. Since the SHIP office has been at Region 10 they have counseled over 700 clients.

New educational programs were presented in 2015. Over 30 educational seminars on topics related to health, safety, financial security, insurance, legal issues, and end of life issues we help in Montrose, Delta, and San Miguel Counties. Also our team facilitated the Education Collaboration, which is a group who works together to make sure educational programs do not overlap in the community. Over 1,000 community members attended the educations component in 2015.  The ADRC will be expanding educational programs to all 6 counties in 2016.

We were fortunate to leverage new funding to expand our efforts. The Telluride Foundation added additional funding to the West End Senior Services Partnership, increasing services and support options for residents of West Montrose County and San Miguel County. Also, the Colorado Senior Dental Grant was awarded to Region 10 allowing more dental services options to low-income people who are uninsured.

Fiscal year 2015 was a busy one for our Material Aid program. This program is funded with Older Americans and Older Coloradoans Act dollars and provides technical assistance to people 60 years of age or older or people 18 to 59 years of age with a disability. Direct funding is reserved for people 60 years of age or older but often times funding can be obtained for those under 60 years of age through grant proposals to other organizations and foundations. Services offered include dental hygiene, restorative/other dental, hearing aids, eyeglasses and adaptive devices (i.e. grab bars, bath benches, ramps, etc.). 188 people were directly assisted through the Material Aid Program with the average expenditure being $212.  Devices and services that were funded included: 71 dental hygiene treatments, 39 restorative/other dental procedures (i.e. extractions, filings, etc.), 20 sets of dentures, 23 hearing aids, 21 eyeglasses and 14 adaptive devices. In addition to direct funding, many projects are co-sponsored by other organizations such as A.V. Hunter Trust, Friends of Man, Starkey Hear Now and others.

With an increase in requests and funding challenges on the horizon the Material Aid program will rely more and more on co-sponsorships and targeting criteria to help as many people as possible benefit from the MA program.

We welcomed Colorado Choice Transitions. Colorado Choice Transitions (CCT) is a program funded by the State of Colorado that allows residents in skilled nursing facilities on Medicaid stays to consider options for living in a community setting.  If the resident commits to the program a team of experts and interested parties is formed to identify needs and challenges that resident would face and to determine if a transition is a safe option.  Even with and initial period of intensive case management and in-home services available participants are required to do self-evaluations to ensure that they understand the personal responsibility determination required to meet challenges in an independent setting.

Region 10 accepted a contract to provide options counseling to residents interested in the CCT Program. Region 10 staff meets with residents who have been referred to the Program to discuss what the program entails and how the program may or may not be a viable option for them. Not all residents who are provided options counseling decide to pursue the CCT option. Reasons for not participating may include the resident’s satisfaction living in a skilled setting or the resident’s desire for an option that takes less time or has fewer regulations on the type of housing that qualifies. Since August of this year Region 10 has had 12 referrals for options counseling, 10 of which were forwarded to a transition organization for consideration. Participation is in the program is voluntary and can be ended at any time during the process.

The Ombudsman program has also had a very busy year. Sandy Walker became the Lead Ombudsman with one volunteer Barbara Ward. They answer questions and provide advocacy efforts in seven assisted living facilities and seven long term care nursing facilities. October was Resident Rights month with “Care Matters” celebrations in all facilities and Mayoral Proclamations at two nursing homes.

Highlights for the Ombudsman program include:

  1. Powerful Tools for Caregivers training completed October 2014.
  2. Training completed for Ombudsman Volunteer Barbara Ward January 2015 with independent visits by her to facilities starting March 2015.
  3. REACH training completed April 2015.
  4. Orientation to nine Community Solutions volunteers including one “volunteer” volunteer coordinator who has since resigned.
  5. Completed two Powerful Tools for Caregivers 6 week classes in Delta County and one in Montrose County.
  6. 339 documented Ombudsman Activities, which includes 105 resident council meetings, 98 direct resident visitations. Additionally, Walker participated in 10 facility surveys, 10 resident care conferences and provided information and consultation to 14 facilities and 9 individuals. She also provided 16 training events to facilities or Ombudsman volunteers, and filed 16 complaint cases on behalf of residents to solve problems with 95% of cases resolved to the resident’s satisfaction.
  7. Provided a Powerful Tools Class to participants at the April 2015 Caregiver Summit.
  8. Completed six week webinar training course in dementia presented by Rowan University.
  9. Coordinated Resident Rights Month activities, which included a series of events at 14 facilities for October 2015.

Homemaking, Personal Care and Caregiver Respite. The Area Agency on Aging served 95 clients for homemaking, 79 clients for personal care, 55 caregiver clients for in home services, 10 caregivers received individual counseling, 260 people are receiving transportation services totaling 22,000 rides, 350 clients are receiving on going case management. 38 people participated in the evidence based classes, Powerful Tools for Caregivers and Living with Chronic Conditions. 500 seniors were served 32,000 meals at the congregate meal site, and 295 homebound seniors were delivered 16, 000 meals. 352 clients also received legal aid services.

Bringing hot meals to the homes of those in need. Region 10 has partnered with Christ Kitchen to deliver hot meals. Volunteers have been dedicated to delivering meals 5 days a week to 20 homebound seniors, totaling more than 6000 meals delivered.

ADRC is growing, and continues to grow. The ADRC received over 6,000 calls, consumers received over 8,000 referrals, 450 people received options and benefits counseling. Over 40 agencies have become active members.

As you can see Community Living Services has a lot going on and volunteers are needed to help us keep up and create some new solutions. If you are interested please give Eva Veitch a call 970-249-2436 ext. 207. We are always in the market for more SHIP Counselors, volunteer Ombudsman, drivers and people interested in providing some in home support, so our older friends can remain in their homes. We also have two advisory groups and numerous support groups and special events that need volunteers. Join us in this great work and become part of the solution.

We are always looking for new opportunities that allow us to help more people.