If not a village, then a dedicated community

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 20, 2003

As the saying goes these days, &uot;It takes a village to raise a child.&uot;

While we may not have an entire village involved in planning services for older adults, we do have a dedicated committee comprised of area agencies, businesses, physicians, hospital and very interested community members.

The Hertford County Office of Aging, with the assistance of the Area Agency on Aging, Mid-East Commission, started this committee almost two years ago.

The Hertford County Planning Committee for Older Adults has been meeting monthly here in Hertford County assessing the needs of older adults and their caregivers, those resources currently available, and ultimately those services most needed by the older adults of our community.

As we all know, the needs are many, the resources are few, and funding for services and programs needed is limited.

The Committee, however, has not been defeated by such a bleak picture.

Throughout the time that this dedicated group of people have been meeting discussing the issues facing our senior citizens in Hertford County, they have realized some successes.

Over the past year they were a partner in a successful grant proposal written by the Area Agency on Aging/Mid-east Commission for Medication Management.

This grant covers the counties within Region Q, which includes Hertford County.

While the grant monies received were not as much as we had originally hoped for, the funds received will clearly help us in making a step in a very positive direction toward assisting older adults with medication management and prescription drug costs.

The cooperation of our area agencies to work toward the successful outcome of this grant, not only for older adults in our county, but for those senior adults in surrounding counties, was indicative of their dedication for bringing about meaningful change for senior citizens.

Another success for which this committee can be proud is the recent development of an inclusive brochure for older adults, their caregivers, and anyone who works with older adults.

The committee recognized early on that although we may have many needs for additional services and programs, we were blessed with many resources already.

Unfortunately what became very evident is that many of these resources were not being used simply because the older adult or their caregiver were either unaware of their existence or did not know how to access the resource.

The brochure is designed to be in effect a Resource Guide for Older Adult Services in Hertford County.

It includes information on such areas as Health Care, Employment, Recreation, Food, Financial Assistance, Emergency Services, Home Care and Support Groups.

For those who are computer friendly we have also included information on helpful websites for older adults and their caregivers.

The Planning Committee is quite proud of this Brochure/Resource Guide and would like to be sure that now that this information is available that it get into the hands of those who most need it.

In the next several months we will be distributing the brochure out into the community.

We encourage all older adults and caregivers to get a copy of the brochure and utilize it as needed.

Please call the Hertford County Office of Aging if you have difficulty locating a copy.

The Hertford County Planning Committee for Older Adults is committed to working toward improving the quality of life for all of our area’s older adults and their caregivers.

Over the coming year we will continue to seek out ways and means by which quality of life becomes a reality for our areas valued resource – older adults!

Linda Blackburn serves as Director of the Hertford County Office on Aging.