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Vermont’s traditional March Town Meetings and vote are around the corner. Taking COVID-19 into consideration, many towns have revised their dates and procedures. Please check your town’s website or call your town office to get the latest schedules and locations. You don’t want to miss taking part in your community issues.

Our Volunteer Visitors are anxious to help their neighbors. If Community Care groups know of anyone who has a need greater than your volunteers can provide, call our Help Line at 802-885-2669. We will do our best to find and/or provide the resources. That reminds me: we have not exhausted our Caregiver Respite Grant funds. With COVID-19 many of us have additional demands on us. So, whether you need help with and for a loved one, assistance with fuel (LIHEAP), access to nutrition (3Squares or Meals on Wheels), advice on SHIP/Medicare, Medicaid (Long Term Care/Choices for Care), a device to access telehealth, a visitor who will call and do errands, connecting with a dementia/Alzheimer’s group, finding a virtual exercise program, help you deal with life’s bumps in the road (PEARLS), or any other special need, call and let us know how we can help. Anyone who would like to be a volunteer can also reach out to us through the Help Line at 802-885-2669.

We are expanding our volunteer efforts in Windsor County and will be recruiting through the SerVermont VISTA program for Vet to Vet Visitors and others. We are coordinating with several organizations and planning a robust program to train volunteers in working with individuals suffering from dementia. Brattleboro Hospice has such a training in place and we look forward to working with them. Once we complete the planning process, we can kick off a great working operation with the newly forming Veterans Advisory Council. This group will make sure we are fulfilling the goals of our Vermont Veterans. We continue to serve the Windham County population. Please refer any veteran or aging Vermonter who could benefit from connecting with a visitor.

With social isolation affecting so many of us, we need to be mindful of a possible increase in self-neglect cases. It can happen so easily when we lose or connections with each other. One way to intervene is to be a good friend – check on each other and our neighbors. Most of us will not reach out for help because we are very independent and proud. These are wonderful personal traits and yet they can work against us when we gradually stop taking the best care of ourselves because we don’t think it matters. We tend to focus on those who are worse off than ourselves. Please know that you and I do matter! The benefits Senior Solutions can connect us with is funded through government and private grants. The Older Americans benefits are not charity. Do you consider Social Security as charity? These funds are earmarked by the federal government to help those of us over 60 who retired or can’t run our farms or businesses due to challenges in aging. We deserve that money to compensate for lost income and retirement benefits that are insufficient in today’s economic situation. They can not be used to help other segments of our population. So please help the government and Senior Solutions fulfill their obligation and mission and call the HelpLine now at 802-885-2669.

The V4A statewide organization is working to advocate for better pay for home health aides, and a bigger budget to increase Meals on Wheels funding. The number of home health aides does not come close to being enough to care for the many aging Vermonters who have difficulty handling daily care needs like cooking, dressing, bathing, and other tasks many of us take for granted. There are only two Medicaid approved providers in Vermont. We need more providers and employees if we hope to meet the requirements of the increasing growth of our older population. We all want to look forward to aging gracefully and we need to plan for it now.

Please sign up for your vaccine. Ages 70 and up are eligible at this time. Go online to www.healthvermont.gov to register for an appointment. You will set up a patient ID, and a password. Then if you have difficulty, call 802-863-7240 and they will assist you. It takes a few minutes to fill out all the question and answer pages but is pretty straight forward. If you want to try the website but don’t see well, just get a friend or relative to help you. Or go directly to the phone method and call the Health Department Call Center at 855-722-7878.

Joann Erenhouse, Esq., is the community relations director for Senior Solutions.

Talk with us

Since COVID-19 makes it difficult to convene Coffees with the President, if you have a question or a comment about The Eagle, send it to company President Fredric D. Rutberg at frutberg@berkshireeagle.com