Changes will allow VPAS to improve services to Valley seniors

Changes are in store at Valley Program for Aging Services, with an eye toward making sure the dollars are spent to maintain a solid level of service for seniors across the Shenandoah Valley.

“We’re improving services across the board, but those improvements are going to require us to do some things differently and to expand our fundraising efforts,” said VPAS CEO Paul Lavigne.

VPAS will hold a public hearing on its draft $3 million budget for fiscal year 2012-13 at 1 p.m. on Monday, July 23 at its corporate office, 325 Pine Ave., Waynesboro. Its Advisory Council and Board of Directors will meet on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., respectively. The meetings are open to the public.

On the table for 2012-13 are the expansions of several VPAS programs.

The new Options Counseling program offers seniors facing a major change in lifestyle a review of the options available to them. VPAS’ Chronic Disease Self-Management Program will be expanded from Rockingham to Augusta and Rockbridge Counties.

Lavigne said the Medicare Insurance Counseling program is “the fastest growing program offered by VPAS, and we want to continue to be able to meet the increasing demand.”

An outreach program in the Rockbridge region takes VPAS services out to seniors in rural areas by means of a mobile information station. “This is a more proactive approach to providing services. As opposed to waiting for people to come find us, we’re going to them to give them what they need closer to home,” Lavigne said.

With federal and state funds declining and these service expansions, VPAS will need to raise an additional $100,000 to balance its budget. “We’ll need to ask our clients and local communities to increase their financial support to be able to expand these services” Lavigne said.

Lavigne added changes will also need to be made in several of VPAS’ Senior Centers. Churchville-area seniors will be able to take part in programming at the Staunton Senior Center, with a weekly shopping trip to the Staunton Wal-Mart. The Churchville Senior Center will be closed.

Highland seniors will be able to access VPAS programming in what Lavigne calls a “senior center without walls,” with programs made available at locations across Highland County. The Highland Senior Center will be closed.

Price Rotary Senior Center members in Harrisonburg will be able to take part in programming at the Timberville Broadway Senior Center two days a week and Price Rotary one day a week.

“In the end, we’re improving services for seniors in our area across the board. In order to improve, we have to do some things differently and be a little smarter in how we raise and spend money. That’s always a challenge, but we think we’re going to be able to do that moving forward,” Lavigne said.

Augusta Health Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press