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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

CVCOA Seeks Your Feedback - 2022-2025 Area Plan draft

Each Area Agency on Aging in Vermont develops an Area Plan every three years. These plans are reviewed by the state and included in the Vermont State Plan on Aging. The purpose of the Vermont State Plan on Aging is to outline how the state and Area Agencies on Aging plan to meet the changing needs of older Vermonters over the next four years.

We value your input! Please use the form below to provide feedback on the 2022-2025 Area Plan draft. Thank you for contributing your ideas and expertise to help us strengthen our area plan. CVCOA will use this plan as a roadmap and guide to address changing needs, strengthen our services, and work to meet objectives to serve older adults in central Vermont in the coming years.

The deadline to submit your feedback is Tuesday, September 7th at 11:59 p.m.

Complete this form to submit your feedback.


Additional Information:

Review this one-sheet from the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living for more information about the Vermont State Plan on Aging: https://asd.vermont.gov/sites/asd/files/documents/Summary%20One-Pager%20of%20State%20Plan%20on%20Aging.pdf

This document from the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living provides a snapshot of Older Americans Act Services in Vermont: https://asd.vermont.gov/sites/asd/files/documents/2018%20OAA%20Snapshot%20with%20AAA%20Map.pdf

Please review the Executive Summary of the plan below. 
Click here to download the full draft.


Central Vermont Council on Aging
Area Plan FFY 2022-2025
Section A: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

A. Accomplishments, progress and challenges of FFY 2019-2022 Area Plan
• The COVID pandemic has been the greatest challenge. It disrupted the provision of services as we knew them, for CVCOA and all our community partners, and forced us to pivot and reconfigure how they are provided. Additionally, it brought increased social isolation and loneliness to our oldest clients. This turmoil forced us to reevaluate and reimagine what is possible. Although delivered differently in some circumstances, services continued virtually, by phone, and in-person when necessary. Case management and I&A clients reported at high rates (93% average) they live in the settings of their choice. Most report their needs are being met, but an average 33% report unmet needs. We continue to work with community partners, advocate for policy changes, and look for other ways to address these challenges. Our contracted nutrition providers adapted; Meals on Wheels continued to be delivered using new safety protocols and to-go meals replaced congregate meals. Still clients reported they had enough to eat and that the meals made a difference. Senior Centers closed to in-person programming, and many pivoted to virtual or outdoor programming. This interruption impacted the delivery and participation in our evidence-based programs. Throughout, education and outreach around the challenges of caregiving, dementia, elder abuse, Medicare and more continued.

B. CVCOA Departments and Programs:
1. Community Services Department focuses on building, supporting and improving the network of community partners providing nutrition, evidence-based wellness programs, socialization, volunteer opportunities and transportation.
2. Case Management Department supports older adults as well as their family caregivers with a focus on person-centered options counseling and working with clients at high need for services. Programs include case management, information and assistance (I&A)/options counseling, family caregiver support, and health insurance counseling.
3. CVCOA provided services:
a. Case Management: Support for older adults, families, and caregivers, through the Older Americans Act, Choices for Care, SASH (Support and Services at Home), One Care, and the Veteran’s Directed Care Program.
b. Information & Assistance (I&A): Short-term assistance through the Helpline and in-person options counseling with person-centered focus.
c. State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP): General Medicare and Part D prescription plan assistance for Medicare beneficiaries.
d. Family Caregiver support: Education and support through classes, social activities, respite grants, and other programming.
e. Volunteer opportunities: Provided through our internal volunteer programs, with assistance from an AmeriCorps member.
f. Evidence-based programs: Wellness programs coordinated through CVCOA and provided primarily through volunteers.
4. Contracted services include:
a. Nutrition services: home-delivered and congregate meals provided through a network of 15 local service providers; nutrition education and menu reviews by a registered dietitian.
b. Transportation to medical appointments, shopping, social activities and congregate meals through three regional transit providers.
c. Mental health counseling through an agreement with local mental health agency for three elder care clinicians.
d. Legal services for older Vermonters and training for staff through Vermont Legal Aid.
e. Advocacy on issues affecting older Vermonters: through Vermont Association of Area Agencies on Aging (v4a), Community of Vermont Elders (COVE), and the Older Vermonters Caucus.
f. Financial services through local accounting firm; computer support through local IT consulting company; Data management thorough a contracted data consultant.
5. Sponsored programs include:
a. Senior Companion: Provides low-income older adults a small stipend to provide companionship to isolated older Vermonters.
b. RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program): Offers older Vermonters volunteer opportunities to provide services focused on healthy aging in the CVCOA service Area and the Northeast Kingdom.

C. Collaborations and partnerships: These are many and varied to help us accomplish our mission and goals. They include participation in three accountable health community teams, OneCare VT; Community Adult Resource Team (CART); and Elders
& People with Disabilities (E&D) transportation groups. Other partners and collaborators include home health providers and SASH teams; local senior centers, VASCAMP and Tai Chi Vermont; v4a and COVE.

D. CVCOA Recent Accomplishments
1. Development/fundraising: CVCOA saw a 33% increase in fundraising from grants and private donations. These funds were earmarked and/or used to support COVID-related work, address social isolation, support our nutrition programs, and support CVCOA operations.
2. Creative Aging Initiative honors: Our Creative Aging Initiative brings Creative Care Kits and virtual volunteer support to older adults at home and to address social isolation. It was originally envisioned for 40 participants and 10 volunteers. It has grown to 135 participants and 25 volunteers. It has received funding from AARP, Meals on Wheels America (MOWA), Vermont Arts Council, and others. The Vermont Arts Council is partnering with CVCOA to build Creative Aging capacity statewide. The program is highlighted in the n4a engAGED Social Engagement Innovations hub. And our Community Engagement Tech Specialist will present at the annual MOWA conference.
3. Excellence in Worksite Wellness: CVCOA received a 2021 Gold Award from the VT Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness & sports and the VT Department of Health.

E. CVCOA Major Plans and Priorities
1. Data Systems: Functionality of and support for the current SAMS/Mediware are increasingly challenging and frustrating, and there is no longer any statewide commitment to this system. There are increasing demands for client and service data that are input in the system, but not readily retrievable. With the availability of the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds, CVCOA will actively pursue a more flexible data management system that will fit the needs of all our programs. This will enable CVCOA to retrieve data more accurately and nimbly for NAPIS/OAAPS and grant reporting, analyze trends in client needs and conditions as well as services, and do our work more efficiently and effectively.
2. Technology: COVID revealed an increased need for and reliance on technology to enable us to provide service and support to clients and community partners. A new server with VPN application allowed staff to work remotely, business management software on work cell phones secures confidentiality of clients data, and replacement of equipment, not limited to laptops and cell phones, is ongoing. In the near future we need to purchase and install a new firewall.
3. Focus on Compliance and Quality Control: This is an ongoing process to ensure we follow all assurances in our state and federal grants. Additionally, we will build on control measures in place to ensure the quality of our services to clients, reporting, and all our work.
4. Increase CVCOA visibility and branding: CVCOA will put a renewed focus on increased visibility in our service area through various media. We want the public to see us as the experts in aging well in community. This includes increased outreach to community partners to educate them on the depth and breadth of services CVCOA provides to older Central Vermonters and family caregivers.

F. Major Trends and Issues
1. Addressing mental health: As case managers and I&A options counselors resume in-person visits with clients, they are noticing some deterioration due to the strain of coping with COVID and isolation. Referrals are made to the Eldercare Clinician program; however, some clients haven’t the resource for copays, so CVCOA seeks means to secure these funds. We are exploring the possibility of offering an evidence-based program such as PEARLS or Healthy IDEAS to help older adults with depression to develop skills to create healthier lives. Also, we are seeking to provide suicide prevention training for all staff members.
2. Reducing social isolation and the digital divide: COVID impacted the social lives of older adults and revealed the increasing social isolation felt by so many. CVCOA created a position to help interested clients obtain devices and internet connection and to facilitate training. Working with community partners and volunteers, clients have been able to use devices to connect with family, take online courses, and engage with their local senior center. To ensure success we work with clients to identify a goal for using the technology. Grant and COVID funding has helped cover the initial cost on connectivity. We help clients connect to the emergency broadband benefits and other low-cost connections offered by providers to low-income older adults. We will continue to be involved in advocacy around broadband equity in access and funding.
3. One Care Vermont payment model: OneCare Vermont’s proposed new payment model ignores home and community-based service providers, such as the Area Agencies on Aging. The payment model around case management services for Choices for Care and Moderate needs clients, does not take into account the importance of supporting clients with maintaining social determinates of health. This will have direct and significant impact on CVCOA’s budget.
4. Support of contracted nutrition program providers: Our contracted nutrition program providers are critical community partners. They provide and deliver home-delivered, congregate and to-go meals, as well as a wellness check on clients. They were on the frontlines during COVID. We continually seek ways to increase our funding and other supports to enhance and grow their programs.

G. Goals for FFY 2022- 2025
Core OAA program and RBA goals are FFY 2022-2025 are outlined below and are detailed later in the Area Plan:
• Title III: Community Planning and Systems Development CVCOA will promote livable community initiatives that help alleviate social isolation and loneliness for a diversity of older Vermonters. We will engage with local service providers, community leaders, and interested members of the public to explore and solve issues on a local level.
• Title IIIB: Case Management Services CVCOA will assist older Vermonters living in their setting of choice through coordination of services and supports. We will accomplish this by respecting their choices and decision making. In the process, we will help them improve their quality of life.
• Title IIIC: Nutrition Services Program CVCOA will strengthen this core Older Americans Act service that supports older Vermonters at greatest risk.
? Nutrition Counseling will be offered and made available to participants in the home-delivered meals program who have a nutrition risk score of 6+. Those who choose to use the counseling will work with the registered dietitian to set a measurable goal.
? CVCOA will work with our contracted local service providers (LSPs) of our nutrition programs, to provide one or more therapeutic meal option on their daily menu. Therapeutic meals are intended to help older Vermonters manage their chronic disease conditions.
• Title IIID: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention CVCOA will support the independence, well-being and health of older Vermonters and their family caregivers through participation in evidence-based programs, including falls prevention programs and Powerful Tools for Caregivers.
• Title IIIE: National Family Caregiver Support Program CVCOA will increase the availability and improve access to caregiver counseling services for those at risk of stress and burden through referral and public education.
• Title VIII: Prevention of Elder Abuse, Neglect & Exploitation CVCOA will educate staff, community partners, volunteers, older Vermonters and the public about elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Other goals CVCOA has for the next three years:
• Reviewing organization and operations of the agency
• Strategic planning
• Improving data management
• Increase non-governmental funding