FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2020
Contact: Trish Ernst, Director Communications
Area Agency on Aging Palm Beach/Treasure Coast
Email TErnst@YourADRC.org; 561.202.7132
Area Agency on Aging Expands its Virtual Office Plan
thanks to the COVID-19 Response Fund of the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties
West Palm Beach, FL – A grant from the COVID-19 Response Fund of the Community Foundation of Palm Beach and Martin Counties has enabled the Agency on Aging to expand its remote computing infrastructure by providing soft phone enabled laptops for Helpline associates. This has made it possible for Helpline staff to accomplish the critical work of providing client services for seniors and adults with a disability and caregivers in Palm Beach and Martin counties remotely in accordance with the Agency’s COVID-19 Virtual Office Plan.
The Area Agency on Aging's Helpline is the gateway to services for seniors in need of Home Delivered Meals, Respite for the Caregiver, Adult Day Care, In-home Services, Personal Care, Food Stamps (SNAP) and Extra Help for prescription drugs and Medicare Savings programs. As a result of COVID-19, these services have been impacted and avenues to food and nutrition are scarcer and more difficult to access and navigate. In addition, more seniors are affected by the shelter in place directives. The Helpline specialists identify resources to fill these needs and help qualifying individuals apply for benefits such as Food Stamps.
The current Helpline staff support seniors in a 5-county region, the largest populations residing in Palm Beach and Martin counties. To date, our focus has been on the most vulnerable seniors. As of today, 1,600 seniors on the wait list have been contacted and offered Home Delivered Meals. The Helpline staff handles approximately 300 calls per day. With 431,767 Palm Beach County residents 60+ and more than 60,000 Martin County resident 60+, we anticipate the number of calls will increase significantly depending on the progression of the virus. The grant has enabled the Agency to be ready to support the additional call volume.
“Under normal circumstances, the Area Agency on Aging’s Helpline assists vulnerable seniors with access to services, including access to food,” said Dwight D. Chenette, MPH, MBA, Chief Executive Officer of the Area Agency on Aging. “During COVID 19 our Agency is assuming a broader role supporting senior needs across Palm Beach and the Treasure Coast.”
Seniors and adults with a disability should call the Helpline at 1-866-684-5885 for access to services such as food, electric bill assistance, help with Medicare and caregiver resources. As an outgrowth of the Older Americans Act, the Helpline is, as always, the gateway to publicly funded services, Medicaid and long term care needs.
The Area Agency on Aging is dedicated to promoting, supporting and advocating for the independence, dignity and wellbeing of seniors, adults with disabilities, veterans of all ages and those who care for them in a manner that values diversity, reflects the communities we serve and embraces the collaboration of the aging network.
Learn more about us at www.YourADRC.org