Amount Requested: $8,000 for Highland County Senior Transportation
Mission: The mission of Valley Program for Aging Services (VPAS) is to play a key leadership role in advocating for, establishing, and sustaining communities beneficial to older persons and adults with disabilities and their families; and actively participate in providing services, needed by these individuals, including coordinated and accessible healthcare, maximum independent living and affordable housing options, support to family caregivers, transportation, and opportunities for vibrant engagement in life, active citizenship, and enhanced quality of life.
Constituents Served: In general, VPAS provides services to people 60 and older in Augusta County, Staunton, Waynesboro, Highland County, Harrisonburg, Buena Vista, Lexington, and the counties of Bath, Rockingham, and Rockbridge. Priority is given to those who are low income, minority, and living in rural areas. In order to be eligible for in-home services, such as Meals on Wheels and Personal Care, an individual must also be qualified as homebound. Medicare Insurance Counseling is provided to any Medicare-eligible individual regardless of age, and certain locally- or grant-funded VPAS transportation services also serve individuals under 60 with a disability as permitted by the funding source. Adult Day Care and Personal Care services, where provided, are done on a sliding-scale fee basis depending on the individual’s income. Otherwise, there is not an income requirement.
Program Overview: Highland County, with a population of 2,258, is the least populated county in Virginia (5.6 people per square mile). The overall population is declining but the percentage of older individuals is increasing. Currently just over 46% of the population is age 60+. This is creating a significant need for transportation for individuals who no longer drive due to medical conditions, who do not have family living in the area (lack of employment opportunities causes migration from the county), have aging neighbors, or have family who work and cannot provide transportation due to their work. These challenges are further complicated by the mountainous geography, weather conditions, and travel time. Highland County residents do not have access to public transportation like a taxi service or a bus available in more populated areas.
In FY14-15, VPAS recruited volunteer drivers in Highland County that allowed for expansion of the Highland Senior Transportation Program (HSTP), providing a total of 492 rides to 68 Highland County residents. VPAS also employs a part-time driver who can be scheduled when a volunteer is not available. HSTP provides transportation for people 60 years and older, as well as those under 60 with a disability, to health care-related appointments. Due to limited medical care available in Highland County, transportation to health care providers and medical facilities in other areas is absolutely essential to allow for treatment of both acute and chronic medical conditions. HSTP also provides transportation for people 60 years and older to destinations in Virginia and West Virginia to participate in programs of interest as well as to go shopping for food, clothing and other items essential to basic human needs. VPAS seeks to increase the number of medical transportation and social/recreational trips it offers per month.
VPAS appreciates donations for all of the services it provides, including Meals On Wheels, Medicare Insurance Counseling, Personal Emergency Response Systems, Senior Center programming and Transportation throughout its service area.
Current Operating Budget: $3,011,388
Program Budget: $17,439