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SPRINGFIELD — Senior Solutions, the Council on Aging for Southeastern Vermont, has received a Public Health AmeriCorps grant of more than $114,000 to provide non-medical, in-home services to older adults, and adults with disabilities in Southeastern Vermont.

The grant, renewable yearly for up to three years, is one of more than 80 grants to state and local organizations for the federal Public Health AmeriCorps program. The first-year grants, totaling more than $60 million will allow Public Health AmeriCorps programs to recruit nearly 3,000 members nationwide.

“This grant gives Senior Solutions additional resources to be able to work with more aging Vermonters in the 46 communities served by our agency,” says Mark Boutwell, executive director of Senior Solutions. “We need more volunteers with specialized training to provide a range of services including respite and support for families whose loved ones suffer from a range of debilitating diseases such as dementia, Parkinson’s and mild cognitive impairments.”

Public Health AmeriCorps is a partnership between AmeriCorps and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and supports the recruitment, training, and development of a new generation of public health leaders. The funds are part of a five-year, $400 million investment in Public Health AmeriCorps by the federal American Rescue Plan.

Over the next three years, Senior Solutions plans to recruit and train 20 volunteers who will be able to provide for the unmet needs of approximately 50 families caring for loved ones with serious health conditions. Our volunteer activities include companionship, meal preparation, assistance with eating, light housekeeping and laundry, errands, grocery shopping and caregiver respite services.

The grant will also help support three Memory Café programs we are opening in the towns of Brattleboro, Springfield, and White River Junction. Memory Cafés provide a safe place for dementia patients and others with disabilities to have social contact in a supportive environment. Trained AmeriCorps volunteers will oversee the café activities and discussions. The program allows caregivers to enjoy an outing with their loved one, knowing that they will be supported by AmeriCorps volunteers.

To find out whether you or a loved one qualifies for Senior Solutions services, including assistance through the Public Health AmeriCorps program, call the agency HelpLine at 802-885-2669 or toll-free at 866-673-8376.

Instructions on becoming a member of this Public Health AmeriCorps volunteer team will be available soon on www.seniorsolutionsvt.org.