The Area Agency on Aging, PSA 2 celebrates a milestone anniversary in 2018: 25 years as an independent agency serving the needs of seniors and caregivers in our nine-county region. Interpreting and embracing change in society and services, the Agency exists to positively impact thousands of individual lives. Changes this past quarter century have resulted in more services, more options, and more seniors and caregivers receiving help, guidance, and invaluable support.
The Agency began in 1984 as a unit of the United Way of the Greater Dayton Area administering Older Americans Act and state funding for the nine-county area of Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Logan, Miami, Montgomery, Preble, and Shelby counties. The 1990 introduction of PASSPORT (Pre-Admission Screening System Providing Options and Resources Today), providing Medicaid-eligible seniors with an aging-in-place (and far less expensive) alternative to nursing homes, resulted in the Agency becoming the PASSPORT Administrative Agency for Clark, Greene, and Montgomery counties. As staffing and support demands supporting the PASSPORT program increased, the need to incorporate as an independent Agency became apparent, and a Board of Trustees was formed with assistance from the United Way. The Agency has been the area’s Resource on Aging ever since.
Under continuing guidance of Executive Director Douglas McGarry, the Agency has grown from an initial 1993 budget of $8.7 million to over $45 million, providing a variety of services to seniors and caregivers in our region. With the expansion of community care options as alternatives to nursing home care, the Agency’s daily census of 472 consumers receiving care managed services in 1993 grew to 6,380 by the end of 2017.
- ComCare was introduced in 1996 allowing services for seniors who do not qualify for PASSPORT but need assistance to remain at home. In 2004, funding for services for frail elderly in Montgomery County was earmarked as part of the Montgomery County Human Services Levy that resulted in the first expansion of the ComCare Program. ComCare has grown to serving more than 1,200 consumers, and voters continued this support by renewing the Human Services Levy in November 2017.
- The Assisted Living Waiver began in 2006 (then expanded in 2007 and 2011) to bridge the gap between independent living and nursing home care for Medicaid recipients. We have 29 current providers in our three-county area.
- The Agency was designated in 2011 as one of 12 regional lead Aging & Disability Resource Centers in Ohio to make it easier for people to access the help they need. Our role was expanded in 2017 as part of Ohio’s “No Wrong Door System” to make it easier for individuals – regardless of age or disability – to get the help they need at home and have the choice to stay in their communities. Our staff of seven Information Specialists are certified by the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems with special certification for aging-related referral services, and answer approximately 16,000 calls annually.
- MyCare Ohio began in 2014 as a demonstration project in select regions of the state in an effort to streamline costs and services for seniors eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid under one managed care insurer. The Agency contracts with Buckeye Health Plan and Molina Healthcare to coordinate in-home services in Clark, Greene, and Montgomery counties.
- The Agency introduced Healthy U in 2010, an evidenced-based program that has helped over 1,600 seniors and caregivers through nearly 200 workshops to better manage chronic health conditions. Types of workshops offered are for chronic conditions, diabetes, and chronic pain.
Throughout these past 25 years, the Agency’s programs rely on strong partnerships with over 200 providers of services including meal preparation and delivery, home health aides and supplies, transportation, and many more. U.S. census reports released in June 2017 note that the nation’s population has a distinctly older age profile than it did 16 years ago. As our regional population ages and needs increase, the Agency is committed to expanding and evolving to meet the growing needs of the senior population. The Agency’s continued support and advocacy on behalf of seniors and caregivers in partnership with the Aging Network are more important than ever.
Executive Director McGarry attributes the agency’s success to “the dedicated staff, Board of Trustees, and Advisory Council members who have contributed their knowledge, skills, time, and efforts these past decades toward the overarching goal of helping adults remain in their homes with independence and dignity. The Agency is prepared to face the next 25 years with hope and heart for people needing our help.”