More Helping Hands for Indiana’s Aging Residents
By Mary Kuhlman, Indiana News Service
(Indianapolis, Ind) – Many of Indiana’s older residents need a little help – from in-home health services to transportation for a doctor visit – in order to remain at home as they age. A new pilot program is shifting the way those services are delivered to better focus on individual needs.
The Community Living Program, part of the CHOICE program, is being tested at four Area Agencies on Aging. Karen Gilliland, deputy director for policy and programs at the Division of Aging in the Family and Social Services Administration, said the pilot program supplements resources already available to an individual.
“We want to be sure we’re not substituting programs for people who are already there helping to care for this individual, or assisting them in making decisions and doing the chores and activities of daily living,” she said.
Services range from simple fall-prevention measures to getting people assistance for meal preparation or medication management if they need it.
Northwest Indiana Community Action in Crown Point is participating in the pilot. Its chief operating officer, Jennifer Malone, said anything that better helps meet the needs of the aging population benefits everyone statewide.
“Our goal is to really help them stay in their home for as long as possible,” she said. “Everybody’s individual circumstances are different, and it is a less expensive option for an individual to stay in their home than to have to go to nursing-facility placement.”
At LifeSpan Resources in New Albany, another pilot site, executive director Keith Stormes said the Community Living model has proved to reduce costs and increase people’s participation in their own care – all while keeping clients happy.
“To be able to assist them in staying in their own home, the response we get is pretty emotional at times, for most of our care managers,” he said. “The clients tend to look on them as miracle workers, and it’s awfully rewarding to have that kind of response.”
The two-year pilot began in January, and the goal is to expand the Community Living Program statewide in the future.