Three Rivers hosts senior public hearing in West Point

Published 8:30 am Saturday, December 9, 2023

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Many West Point seniors and caregivers met for a public hearing hosted by the Three Rivers Area Agency on Aging at the West Point Active Life Center on Friday.

During the meeting, officers from nursing home transitions, case managers, and nutrition and wellness specialists spoke about the different programs that Three Rivers offers. 

The program, which is designed to keep seniors active and independent, is state and federally funded. They offer two annual public hearings to hear from citizens and target their needs. 

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“Our goal is to keep you in your home as independent as possible,” said Brian Bruggeman, Aging and Disability Resources Manager. 

The organization was founded after the 1965 Older Americans Act was signed into law. The organization works to support and bolster the older adult community. Three Rivers serves ten counties including Troup County. 

Many in the hearing spoke about the burden of caregiving and transportation needs. 

Last year, the program serviced over 322,000 people. They provided in-home services, like housekeeping, caregiver respite and personal care aid for 35,000 people. 

They also offer transportation services to those over 60. Many of the 45-50 programs are based on age rather than income.

The Three Rivers also provides medical assistance technology such as hearing aids, prescription glasses, incontinence supplies and walkers for 900 people, including the West Point Active Life Center. 

The Aging and Disability Resources Counselors received 8,788 calls for help with things like financial assistance, income taxes, cancer support groups and Medicare enrollment last year. According to AAA Director Joy Shirley, three years ago, there were about half as many individuals served. 

The program also offers Adult Protective Services and Nursing Home Transitions. Last year, the organization helped 28 people get home from a nursing home. Often, if an individual has a housing burden, the Three Rivers can help them find a place to live and afford the security deposit to move in. 

Unfortunately, there is a waiting list for many of the services that the organization offers. Special Projects Specialist Brooke Rakestraw said they offer vouchers for individuals to use that will allow them to seek temporary services for needs for which Three Rivers will compensate the external company. 

The organization also places an emphasis on dementia care and caregiver services. Too often caregivers suffer from burnout and neglect their own needs, said Dementia Care Specialist Pat Robinson. Caregivers can receive in-home or out-of-home respite services to help shoulder the burden.  

Last year, the program received $8 million from local, state and federal funds, including the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This year they hope to receive $7 million to continue serving the communities in the counties.