As we grow old, it’s almost inevitable that we will need to give, or receive, help with daily tasks; there’s a daunting prospect for you. It can be very challenging to figure out on your own how to get the right services at the right time for an elderly loved one, or for yourself.
Fortunately, our state government has a program designed to guide you through that situation. It’s called Aging and Disability Resources for Colorado (ADRC). Locally, ADRC is administered by Region 10’s Area Agency on Aging, in Montrose. Amy Rowan is the program coordinator for Montrose, Delta, San Miguel, Gunnison, Ouray, and Hinsdale Counties.
“The goal of the ADRC is to provide information and assistance to the community so people aren’t sent on a wild goose chase trying to find services, ” Rowan recently told a meeting of The Forum at Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli, in Montrose.
The idea is to help seniors find the help they need as quickly and efficiently as possible. “ Sometimes it gets a little frustrating when you call around and don’t get the answer. And we often find if people call two or three places and don’t get the answers that they need, they stop calling and don’t get the services that they need.”
The idea is to help you get from point A to point B without wandering through the rest of the alphabet. “The ADRC is a collaboration of all the agencies that work with older adults, disabled people, and their caregivers, to make sure that we’re getting the information out to people and not sending them on a wild goose chase,” Rowan explained. ”
The ADRC is also responsible for preparing a local resource guide. “It is full of every program and service you could possibly want to know about,” Rowan said. You can download the guide at https//www.region10.net/download/communityLiving/2017-Resource-Guide-Final_2.pdf
However, you’re probably going to need more than just a downloaded file. “One of the other programs we do is called Options Counseling,” Rowan told the audience. “We sit down with people and go over what programs and services are out there, how to access those services, and what the qualifications for those services are.
“Often, I get a glazed look from people after meeting with them for about half an hour,” because there is such a wide variety of services available, such as home-making, transportation, Medicaid programs, home-delivered meal programs. etc.
“We’re very lucky in our area that we do have so many great community partners that do provide a lot of service,” but many people are unaware of what’s available for them. “And we’ve done a lot of research over the years to find those nice little programs that not a lot of people know about, that are really beneficial to the community.
If you’re thinking about getting help for yourself or a loved one, sooner is much better than later, according to Rowan.“In Options Counseling, we can go over all those programs. And, our preference is to go over them before you actually need them. Before there’s a crisis. Before Mom falls and breaks a hip and ends up in the hospital. Before a caregiver caring for somebody with dementia burns out and says ‘I can’t do this anymore’.
“If you’ve ever been in a crisis, and you’ve tried to make well-informed decisions in crisis mode, you usually only hear about half the information you’ve been given. You pick the first program that’s there because you’re scared about what’s going to happen if you’re not able to go home from the facility. So if you get that information beforehand, you don’t get that glazed look when I’m spouting off all the resources that are available.”
Region 10 contracts with agencies in each of the six counties it serves to provide ADRC services.“That way, we have agencies that are established in the communities, that the communities trust, to get that information out.”
As you can imagine, Rowan and her staff are pretty busy. “Last year, we had about 10,000 calls that came into our offices, and we provided about a thousand people with Options Counseling.
“If you need help yourself, or are a caregiver, please call our office so we can get you informed about all the services that are out there.”
You can reach Amy Rowan at (970) 765-3123