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Valley Program for Aging Services

Mission: Valley Program for Aging Services (VPAS) empowers those 60 years and older with the resources and opportunities they need to lead engaged lives.

Community Need: Weldon Cooper Center at UVA recently reported that, by 2020, there will be 36,878 individuals age 60 or older residing in the cities of Staunton and Waynesboro, as well as in Augusta and Highland counties which represents 29% of the total population in those communities. Longer lifespans bring great opportunities and many changes in finances, living situations, loss of family members and friends, and increased risk of chronic disease and falls.  Family members of all ages serve as caregivers, providing billions hours of unpaid care. The physical and emotional impact of being a caregiver causes increased health care costs and results in lost revenue or productivity in businesses as well.

Primary Activities: VPAS is equipping people with tools needed to navigate their aging years successfully through key programs including Information and Assistance, Meals on Wheels, Personal Care, Senior Centers, Transportation, Medicare Insurance Counseling and Health and Wellness programs.  Meals on Wheels and Personal Care are core services provided for homebound individuals. The Senior Centers provide programs for more independent seniors such as fitness, educational programs, a nutritious noon-time meal, entertainment, crafts, and field trips.  For individuals who no longer drive, vans can bring them to and from the centers, and their Senior Transportation program can provide rides to other destinations. VPAS also is licensed to train leaders and provide multiple national Health and Wellness programs such as Chronic Disease Self Management, A Matter of Balance, and Aging Mastery Program.

Constituents Served: VPAS provides services to people 60 and older and their families to improve quality of life and promote independence. Priority is given to those who are low income, minority, or live in rural areas. Specific eligibility criteria vary by program. Last year, they served 4,707 individuals ages 60 and below (359); 60-69 (1,155); 70-79 (1,257); and 80+ (1,177). Of the total, 2,146 resided in the Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta, and Highland area.

Program Details:  The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 1 in 10 individuals over age 60 will suffer from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia which impacts the entire community. To better understand the challenges faced by those who suffer from dementia, VPAS wants to implement the Virtual Dementia Tour (VDT) program. VDT uses specially designed equipment to provide participants with an understanding of the visual and mobility barriers usually affecting those with dementia, along with an aural simulation of the thought and reasoning disturbances they generally experience. Participants, while wearing the equipment, are asked to perform five simple everyday tasks. At the end of the short exercise, participants meet with a trained facilitator to discuss their experience and reactions. VPAS intends to offer VDT at community events and to specific groups including first responders, financial Institutions, faith communities and others who regularly encounter individuals suffering from dementia. By offering insight into the condition, VPAS anticipates that the communities will be more understanding, empathetic, and better prepared to face the challenges of an aging population that is growing at an ever-increasing rate.

Amount Requested: $7,000

Operating Budget: $2,892,821

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