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Published December 15, 2015
Volume 23, Number 12




Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley Provides No-Cost

Aid to Area's Elderly




By Jay Hipps
NETWORK Writer



The demographics of the graying population means that there is an increasing demand for senior services. Fortunately, there are organizations like the Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley helping the elderly keep their independence.
 
“SSPTV is a private, non-profit organization, and we’re housed in the Senior Center,” says Nicole Albrecht, administrative director. “We have over 13 free programs for seniors, and all of those programs work together to keep a senior happy, healthy, and safe in their home for as long as possible.”
 
Those programs cover important needs like transportation, nutrition, education, and counseling, and even more practical needs like simple companionship.
 
“We’re always growing and changing our programs but the one that started it all is called Friendly Visiting,” says Albrecht. “Right now, we have over 125 volunteers who are matched with seniors who, for one reason or another, can no longer get out as easily. A Friendly Visitor will come in and help with grocery shopping, organizing their bills, or just being there to be social and go to a movie. That makes a huge difference in quality of life for seniors.”
 
Another valuable service offered by the SSPTV is Case Management. “We have a team of case managers who can help seniors navigate through any and all paperwork. For example, if a senior has a medical bill and they’re billed incorrectly, and it’s just way too confusing to figure it out, going back and forth between the hospital and the insurance company, that’s when a case manager will step in,” she says. “Case managers gather all the resources a senior might need, whether it’s a caregiver or transportation, meals, health insurance, and put all the pieces in place for them.”
 
Albrecht notes that the organization’s most popular service is transportation. “It’s completely free,” she begins. “We have staff and volunteers who drive seniors from their home to medical appointments and the special thing about the transportation program is we actually go into the doctor’s office with the senior so we can take notes during the meeting. We can remind them to speak up — ‘didn’t you want to ask about that condition you mentioned?’ It’s a little more than just dropping them off and making sure that they’re OK.”
 
The transportation program also serves to introduce many seniors to the SSPTV’s programs. “Often a senior will call us for transportation — because they need a ride — and during that ride we’ll find out they need a lot of other services, so that’s one of our gateway programs, along with case management,” says Albrecht. “They all kind of work together.”
 
The non-profit also provides an in-home counseling program — “we have a team of counselors and they can work on just about anything and everything to do with mental health issues,” Albrecht says — as well as a nutrition and exercise department.
 
“For nutrition, we do individual and group sessions, whether it’s to help someone with a diagnosis of diabetes or just to help them eat healthier,” she says. “The exercise program is a combination of group and in-home exercise, one on one, for those who maybe can’t make it out to a senior living site in the community. They’re all adaptable exercise classes — we focus on fall prevention, so increasing balance, increasing strength, endurance, and flexibility. Those are the fun ones — we really like doing them.”
 
The SSPTV provides many opportunities for volunteer participation as well. “We’re always looking for volunteers, especially in transportation and in our Friendly Visiting department,” Albrecht says. “For Friendly Visiting, even if it’s just calling a senior once a week to check in, or helping with our larger events called rotary projects where we pick a Saturday and get people together to do yard work or flip mattresses or do housecleaning inside and outside of seniors’ homes, that can be very rewarding.”
 
Donations are also accepted, either by sending a check or clicking on the PayPal link at ssptv.org. Additional information is also available by calling the Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley at (925) 931–5379.

 



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