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Community Connection: Happy at Home
Posted By: Becky Davis

Happy at Home: Support and Resources Are Available

“I’m not sure how much longer Mom will be able to live on her own.”  Have you ever voiced a concern like this?  Maybe it was about your grandmother, an uncle, or a close family friend.  There are many factors that affect a senior adult’s ability to remain independent, and sometimes family members just don’t feel like they have all the answers they need. Emotions can cloud their judgment, making it difficult to maintain an objective viewpoint. 

For residents of Amarillo and the surrounding area, there is an agency that’s here to help. The Area Agency on Aging of the Panhandle serves as the advocate for the older population living in the 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle. With a mission of promoting dignity, independence, and quality of life for older people, the AAA offers a range of comprehensive and coordinated programs for individuals age 60 and older. These services are designed to benefit senior adults as well as their caregivers. 

Eligible participants can take advantage of many valuable programs, such as:

  1. Congregate and home-delivered meals produced by Bivins Culinary Center
  2. Social interaction and educational experiences at Jan Werner Adult Day Care’s state-of-the-art campus
  3. Transportation to appointments, grocery store, pharmacy, etc.
  4. Minor home repairs and modifications, such as wheelchair ramps, through a partnership with the Texas Ramp Project
  5. Light housekeeping or assistance with personal care, such as bathing
  6. Legal assistance/representation and benefits counseling to help navigate questions about Medicare, prescription drug plans, supplemental insurance plans, Social Security, and more
  7. Advocacy for those in long-term care or assisted living, through the development of positive relationships to aid in resolution of complaints or concerns

Of primary importance is the care of the individual, and the Area Agency on Aging has been on the cutting edge of these efforts in the Texas Panhandle for more than two decades.

Thanks to the Older Americans Act of 1965, funding has been available for critical services that keep older adults healthy and independent – services like meals, job training, senior centers, health promotion, benefits enrollment, caregiver support, transportation, and more.  United Way is also a provider of funding for AAA services, along with other state and local sources.

The best part of these services provided by the Area Agency on Aging?  They’re available at no cost to the individual.

 “Services are paid for by tax dollars, so it’s there for senior adults and caregivers to take advantage of,” says Jaime Sharp, AAA caregiver program specialist.

The first step is to call the Area Agency on Aging at 806.331.2227.  Callers will be directed to an intake referral specialist who will direct them to the appropriate resources or refer them to a representative for the program they need.

Caregivers are also encouraged to take advantage of the programs available to them, including respite care, support groups, caregiver conferences, a quarterly lunch and learn, and a resource library in Amarillo and in several rural communities.

For anyone who is contemplating the care of a loved one who is entering their golden years, take heart in knowing that there are answers available – and these answers come from those with a wealth of knowledge and experience. You want your loved one to maintain their dignity and an excellent quality of life, and that desire is shared by the people at the Area Agency on Aging. 

By Kelli Bullard