The Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut, Inc. (AASCC), incorporated in 1974, was the first established agency on aging in the state of Connecticut. It now acts in partnership with four other regional agencies on aging to serve the needs of elderly individuals throughout the state. AASCC serves consumers in the 20 towns surrounding New Haven. In 1996, AASCC was awarded the south central region contract for the Connecticut Home Care Program Elders (CHCPE) through a competitive bid process. For the purposes of providing CHCPE services, assumption of this contract expanded the agency’s original south central Connecticut service area by seventeen towns that lie in the eastern region of the state.
I began my volunteer work with the Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut in the fall of 2005 when I trained to become a CHOICES counselor, which involves health insurance assistance, outreach, information and referral, counseling, and eligibility screening for older adults and individuals with disabilities. The introductory year for the Medicare Prescription Drug Program was 2006, and it was the year I came face-to-face with the needs and fears of older adults. Helping these folks understand programs available to them, information that arrives in their mail, determining their eligibility for assistance provided through state and federal programs, and explaining their Medicare benefits and how to avail themselves of available services became the most important and rewarding activity of my retirement.
Shortly after I became an active volunteer at AASCC, I was privileged to become a member of the Board of Directors, which provided a much expanded opportunity to see and learn firsthand how AASCC employees and volunteers devote their efforts to advocacy, coordination, and execution of a plethora of programs designed to fulfill the mission of empowering older adults and people with disabilities to remain as independent and engaged as possible within their communities. Because I believe so deeply in providing assistance to older adults and individuals with disabilities, I have continued my volunteer CHOICES counseling activities even as I have become the President of our Board. Through the privilege of both positions I am able to see “from the top down” and “the bottom up” the great good that people do for others and the sincere appreciation of those in need. It is also a vantage point to see the needs of our most vulnerable citizens.
Our Board, Advisory Council, employees, and volunteers work diligently on a daily basis to provide for the needs of our constituents, even as funding for programs is being curtailed and programs are scaled back or eliminated. The program reductions and eliminations typically affect the most vulnerable among us, and as these realities set in, our employees are re-doubling their efforts, and at times at personal sacrifice, to continue providing the quality and level of service that has made our Agency great.
AASCC has highly trained and competent people to implement and oversee programs such as the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders, which serves over 3,000 clients; Veterans Directed Home and Community Based Services Program, which serves veterans of any age who are at risk of nursing home placement and their caregivers; Respite Care Management programs which provide much needed services for caregivers who have family members with physical and/or cognitive disabilities; and numerous other programs such as home-delivered and congregate meals, adult day care, transportation, legal, homemaking, and in-home support services; volunteer opportunities, and health screening and promotion.
It is understandable that providing these programs at any level requires adequate funding and, as the state and federal funding is insufficient to meet the growing needs of our community, it is incumbent on all of us to do what we can to help the less fortunate, whether it is through volunteering our time or sharing our resources.
The agency serves the twenty towns of Greater New Haven. Additionally, the agency also administers the Connecticut Homecare Program for Elders in Centerbrook, Chester, Clinton, Cromwell, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Higganum, Ivoryton, Killingworth, Lyme, Middlefield, Middletown, Moodus, Northford, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, Rockfall, Westbrook
The Care Management Department empowers older adults and persons with disabilities to remain in the community as independently as possible with the highest personal quality of life. The department provides comprehensive assessments, advocacy, information, and care management services addressing both short and long term needs. Payment for homecare services can be secured through the many publicly funded programs administered within this department.
· Reduce readmissions to the hospital within the first 30 days by 20%.
· Reduce admission to skilled nursing facilities by 5%.
· Improve participants of the Care Management Department programs quality of life response on client satisfaction surveys by 2%.
To allow frail elders and individuals with disabilities to remain in the community as functionally independent as possible with the highest personal quality of life.
Success of the program is monitored through client database reporting as well as client satisfaction surveys.
• As part AASCC's effort to helpConnecticutrebalance long-term care, Money Follows the Person (MFP) transitioned 69 individuals to community living, 97% of whom continued to live in the community at year-end.
• AASCC purchased a total of $1,879 worth of necessary items for 21 individuals via the staff and board-supported Client Fund.
• The Bridge Program supported 39 individuals with a median age of 76, 61% of whom were below 150% of the federal poverty line.
• CT Home Care Program for Disabled Adults (CHCPD) and CT Home Care Program for Elders (CHCPE) programs served 3,958 individuals 95% of whom credited the program with helping them remain in their homes.
• The Statewide Respite Care program served 248 individuals; 48% had income below 150% of the federal poverty line.
• Veterans Directed Home and Community Based Services (VDHCBS) assisted 31 individuals.
The Aging andDisabilityResourceCenter is a hub of information for older adults, individuals with disabilities across the lifespan, caregivers, and professionals in the aging network. The information topics include benefits, caregiving, community resources, fraud prevention, housing, Medicaid, Medicare, Long-Term Care health insurance and a wide variety of topics related to aging and independant living. Additionally the department screens for benefits eligibility, assists with the completion of benefits applications and counsels individuals and their families on options for long-term care. Programs includes CHOICES, Community Choices (ADRC), Senior Medicare Patrol, Tai Chi and the National Family Caregiver Support Program. The CT Money School provides financial education to equip indivdiuals living in nursing homes with the skills needed to manage their budgets when returning to the community.
· Provided evidenced-based Tai Chi programs at nine locations to 130 older adults.
· Provided financial literacy education at 55 locations to 300 participants.
· Provided options counseling services to consumers with disabilities and their family caregivers to 86 families.
· Organized Greater New Haven Senior, Disability & Caregiver Expo attended by 1,200 older adults and people with disabilities.
· Hosted Fearless Caregiver Conference for 309 family caregivers.
· Responded to requests for information and assistance from 18,000 callers.
· Completed 700 nutrition assessments and reassessments for older adults in need of home-delivered meals.
· Operate the CHOICES program with 93 volunteers for the past 15 years.
· Convene Hispanic Outreach Plan for Elders (H.O.P.E.) for service providers to improve the Hispanic community's connections with the aging network resulting in enhanced program for Hispanic older adults throughout the region since 2005.
· Provide expert information and assistance to consumers and professionals for the past 30 years.
· Established the first Aging & Disability Resource Center in Connecticut in 2008.
· Quarterly reporting to the Department of Social Services (DSS) for the CHOICES program, Family Caregiver program, and Senior Medicare Patrol.
· Monthly reporting to the Department of Social Services (DSS) for nutrition assessments.
· Biannual reporting to the AASCC Grants and Communications Department for information and assistance and Tai Chi programs.
· Social Assistance Management System (SAMS) reporting to the Department of Social Services for caregiver training and nutrition assessments.
· Grant reporting to private funders per requirements.
· Monthly reporting to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for health insurance counseling, fraud and safety counseling, and outreach.
· 1,200 people attended the annual Greater New Haven Senior, Disability & Caregiver Expo.
309 family caregivers attended the annual Fearless Caregiver Conference.
· 130 older adults learned Tai Chi. This program uses the U.S. Administration on Aging's evidence-based Tai Chi model.
· 18,000 callers received information and assistance counseling services.
· Participated in achieving CT's ranking of second in United States for Medicare outreach activities.
The Volunteer and Training Department provides volunteer and employment Opportunities for older adults aged 55+. The volunteer programs place older volunteers in rewarding positions at over 100 local not-for-profit organizations. Several programs offer stipends to eligible individuals who are interested in serving as mentors/tutors to children or interested in serving as companions to frail older adults. The senior employment program assists income eligible individuals 55+ to find part-time employment and offers training opportunities to individuals looking to start a new career or to develop new skills that will lead to employment. Working with area school systems, Experience Corps provides seniors as tutors to school aged children.
· Provided volunteer opportunities for 450 individuals age 55+.
· Provided employment and training opportunities for 50 individuals age 55+.
· Provided tutoring opportunities for 35 older adults age 55+.
· Provided one-to-one companionship to 17 older adults with intellectual disabilities.
· Provided 10 individuals with the opportunity to serve as VISTA volunteers in theNew Haven.
· Provided meaningful volunteer opportunities for older adults for the past 25 years.
· Increased employment and income security for older workers for the past 15 years.
· Increased community participation to older adults with intellectual disabilities for the past 25 years.
· Increased literacy skills to children through tutoring by older adults for the past seven years.
· Placed over 100 older workers ( 30% of program participants ) into unsubsidized employment and improved their economic security
· Annual onsite program visit from Department of Social Services (DSS) staff and annual program reports.
· Annual onsite program visit from Department of Developmental Services (DDS) staff and annual program reports.
· Annual onsite program visit from Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) staff and annual program progress reports.
· Annual Experience Corps tutoring effectiveness evaluation.
· Annual RSVP volunteer surveys and site visits.
· One hundred forty-six (146) older adults and adults with disabilities were screened for benefits and entitlements through the RSVP Benefits CheckUp Program.
· Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) enrolled 50 older workers, successfully placed 15 into unsubsidized employment, and provided over 3,000 hours of computer training to 50 program participants.
· Experience Corps enrolled 37 older adults as literacy tutors in nineHamdenelementary schools and provided more than 10,000 hours of service. Literacy assessment scores improved in 88% of students assigned to Experience Corps tutors, and Experience Corps members gave more than 4,000 new and gently used books to children attending community events inHamdenandNew Haven.
· Senior companions and foster grandparents provided 150,000 cumulative hours of service to frail older adults and children with special needs.
· Opportunities for Older Adults (OOA) provided 7,800 hours of service to older adults with developmental disabilities.
The Grants and Communications Department evaluates proposals, allocates funding, and oversees Older Americans Act Title III funds and state funds that support in-home and community-based services for individuals age 60 and older. Requests for proposals are issued annually. The department also advocates and educates elected officials and the public on the needs of older adults and individuals with disabilities, seeks and pursues private and public funding opportunities to offset programmatic costs, and increases awareness of AASCC events and services through social media, public relations, and print media.
· Award Older Americans Act (OAA) Title III funds to one additional agency or program to provide mental health outreach and counseling services to older adults.
· Convene mandatory technical assistance trainings at least annually for all grantees to increase the quality of funded services by providing information on long-term care programs, navigating the provider network maze and best practices for serving older adults.
· Obtain funding from five new private or public grant-making organizations to increase program capacity.
· Work with elderly nutrition providers to open a second congregate restaurant meal site and/or an evening meal site at a senior housing complex.
· At least 30% of clients receiving Title III in-home services are not admitted to a long-term care institution for at least six months after receiving initial services.
· At least 40% of clients receiving Title III home delivered meals will have a nutritional risk score that has not increased after 12 months of continuous meal program participation.
· Partner with local transportation providers to develop and implement a mobility management model that will provide non-emergency medical transportation more efficiently and cost-effectively to a greater number of older adults.
· Increase departmental staff’s cultural competency in order to enhance the capacity for Title III-funded programs to serve older adult Latinos with culturally relevant services.
· Provide services that increase the ability of older adults to remain in their homes with the highest possible quality of life for as long as possible.
· Develop a fundraising model that increases the amount of nongovernmental dollars coming into the agency by 10% annually.
· Increase awareness, advocate and educate state and municipal leaders and the public about the needs of AASCC’s constituencies through an increasingly sophisticated mix of social media, public relations and print media.
Success of the department is monitored through grantee reporting, regular site visits to provider organizations, programmatic and fiscal assessments by the Connecticut Department of Social Services, success in obtaining additional funding from private and public entities, event attendance, and media coverage.
· AASCC convened a group of transportation providers who submitted a federal funding application to create and implement a mobility management model.
· AASCC recruited a second agency to provide mental health outreach and counseling for two years.
· Successfully advocated to restore the cut to the Statewide Respite Program included in the Governor’s FY’13 Mid-Term Budget.
AASCC’s Grants Department currently collaborates with 19 grantee organizations. The Care Management Department contracts with 101 home and community-based service providers. The Volunteer and Training Department has 111 memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with volunteer placement organizations, 23 MOUs with potential employers for older adults, eight MOUs withHamdenpublic schools for volunteer tutor placement, and agreements with five partner organizations for the VISTANew Haven Education Project. The Aging andDisabilityResourceCenterhas MOUs with the Center for Disability Rights, Southern CT State University, Western CT State University, and the CT Department of Social Services for Community Choices. AASCC also collaborates with federal, state, municipal, and local entities such as the CT departments of Developmental Services and Public Health, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the New Haven departments of Elderly and Disability services, VA Connecticut Healthcare, United Way of Greater New Haven, senior centers, and senior housing. AASCC recently partnered with Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Hospital of St. Raphael to form the Greater New Haven Coalition for Safe Transitions and Readmission Reductions.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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