The New River Valley (NRV) Agency on Aging is continuing the same dedication and support to our aging population from a new location in Pulaski.
The organization, formed in 1975, was previously located in the town of Pulaski but had moved to Fairlawn. Now, they are just a few doors down from their original location at 44 3rd Street NW, Pulaski, near the library and across from court services. However, counselors are often out in the New River Valley meeting with people at a location more accessible to them, Executive Director Tina King said.
“We want to meet the needs or find the resources that a person is looking for. We don’t want people to keep searching for answers. We may not always have ‘the answer’ but we will get them the best answers available,” King said.
Aging in place has become a common phrase when considering seniors in need of care and support within their communities. According to the agency’s website, “almost 90% of older adults want and expect to age in place, staying in their homes and communities through their later years.”
With this expectation comes an array of considerations and planning for care such as accessibility in the home, nutrition, medical support and supplies, and financial management and education.
“Most people want to stay within the communities and homes they are familiar with,” said King. “For some folks, their home does not have accessibility for them, so thinking ahead of what might make it accessible, and when they might not be able to drive, what transportation is available for them.”
NRV Agency on Aging provides a free downloadable workbook, along with additional online information, for anyone seeking resources as they prepare for aging in place. An Aging in Place workbook, used in one-to-one meetings with the agency or volunteers as well as in group presentations, can be found at https://www.nrvaoa.org/.
Printed copies can be made available as well by calling the NRV Agency on Aging office at (540) 980-7724. A small fee of less than $15 will cover the cost of printing and mailing the book.
The agency also continues to seek partnerships with other community-based organizations. Older adults may be in a situation of raising grandchildren or great- grandchildren and find the need for resources outside the typical scope of senior support programs.
NRV Agency on Aging is considered a governmental cooperative, so each of the region’s governmental groups appoint board members to help meet the needs of the agency. They each provide some annual funding as well as supporting the agency in other ways, such as with the new space they recently moved into in April of this year.
The Older Americans Act of 1965 provides federal dollars that also helps in supporting some of the agency’s programs that benefit the New River Valley. State funding from Virginia through the General Assembly, grant funding, and donations are also extremely helpful in meeting the resources necessary to provide larger programs for the area. The agency’s budget is large, and the needs are ever increasing, King said.
“Over the past year, from October to September, we have provided direct services to about 1,200 people, but some receive multiple services” King said. “On a daily basis, we are serving approximately 375 meals throughout the New River Valley, to their homes. Before covid, we served a little over 200 a day.”
The agency has also received special grant funding to help with rising costs of food and other costs that provide meals to homebound seniors, which could not have been done without the extra support.
Seniors’ needs are more complex too as there are more than just basic needs for nutrition that need to be met. The agency provides opportunities for social gatherings such as Friendship Café that meets in different locations throughout the New River Valley, 2-3 days a week. Additionally, many seniors and their families have questions about health insurance and Medicare coverage that agency staff and volunteers can answer. Interested individuals with questions can utilize electronic meetups with the agency’s workers, meet in person, or speak with someone over the phone about other options to have assistance in completing insurance forms.
Besides the meals program delivered to seniors in their homes, another program strives to meet the in-between times when older adults may find themselves low on food supplies. Staples for Seniors, similar to the backpack program for school-age children, is designed to fill the gap over the weekends with non-perishable food such as peanut butter and tuna.
Fido’s Pantry is also an extremely helpful program that feeds the pets of people already receiving home-delivered meals.
“While there are many care needs and things that we as a community need to do to meet those needs, it is important to realize the value that older adults bring to our community. They built our community. They are the ones that have put in the blood, sweat and tears to get our communities to what they are now. They bring so much richness to our community” King said. “Advanced planning is really a gift to those in the caregiving position.”
New River Valley Agency on Aging provides many resources in addition to those mentioned here. Staff members and volunteers encourage those in the community with questions to reach out to them over the phone, in person, or on their website. Donations are also accepted and help to continue providing information and support to our community’s aging community.