Oregon's ADRC was created to help aging Oregonians remain independent and healthy in their own communities. ADRC is staffed with trained options counselors housed within their local Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). Options counselors are available to provide accurate, unbiased information on all aspects of life related to aging or living with a disability.
"The growth of the number of seniors is a major reason why the ADRC was created," explained Elaine Young, Manager of the State Unit on Aging. "People need a trusted place to get information to help make informed decisions about where they want to live, or what services exist in various communities that may be available to help them," she said.
Funded by Department of Human Services through federal grants, the ADRC is where people of all incomes and ages can receive information on a full range of care options such as: in-home care, home-delivered meals, bathing, dressing, housekeeping, Medicare counseling, transportation, adult foster care, residential care facilities and more. Options counselors help troubleshoot situations and provide alternatives and resources to resolve concerns.
Amy Vlahos is an options counselor in the Washington County AAA. "We are here to help people learn about the options available to them locally, how to set things up and how to navigate the system," Amy explained. "When someone calls, we will make a home visit and help assess what is going on as well as to see the kind of help they may need. Most important, we are here to help people plan in advance before it becomes a crisis situation."
"For instance, I met recently with a woman in her 80s who was living at a nursing facility following a stroke," Vlahos explained. "She wanted to return home but needed to have some supports in place to do so. I helped her set up a Lifeline alert system, some caregiver options which included a list from the Oregon State Home Care Worker Registry and I was able to order grab bars for safety to be installed in her home. With these supports she was able to return home and is living safely and independently in her community."
Jo Ann Coker, an options counselor in the Lane County AAA, recently worked with an elderly man who had been healthy and active all his life, however, was experiencing severe back pain and was having trouble standing and walking. He lives alone and has no family in the area.
"I was concerned about him trying to stand to cook," Coker said. "I asked him if he would like to try Meals on Wheels for a while and he thought that was a good idea until he got better. He also shared with me the losses in his life. Many family members have passed away in recent years, including his wife. We talked about how hard this can be and the loneliness he feels. I gave him information on two volunteer programs in Lane County where volunteers visit with people who are isolated and lonely. I put his name on the waiting list. He really appreciates the meal support and his new visitor. Options Counseling provided him with some well balanced meals while he is getting physically stronger. Placing a volunteer to visit him has helped to alleviate social isolation."
To learn more about the ADRC and how it can help you or a loved one, go to www.adrcoforegon.org
. ADRC also has a Facebook page. Starting this month, options counselors in Lane, Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties and Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Clatsop and Tillamook Counties will be easily reached by calling one central number. The number is 1-855-ORE-ADRC (673-2372).