At House to Home Organizing, we have helped many families in multi-generational homes who are either transitioning to the next life stage living situation or have loved ones who are downsizing. Often, our clients tell us they are overwhelmed and don't know how to begin. We spoke with Sharon Gesek, Director of Programs at The Southwestern CT Agency on Aging to help provide solutions to some of the challenges that older adults face.
For the busy person, what is the best description for Southwestern CT Agency on Aging?
SWCAA is a private, not-for-profit organization, designated by the federal government (according to the Older Americans Act of 1965) as an Area Agency on Aging, SWCAA is a funding source for federal and state dollars for the elderly in a fourteen town region of southwestern Connecticut.
Funding supports services such as in-home care, nutrition, legal, health, adult day care/respite, transportation, senior centers, outreach/social support and Information and Assistance.
What are the common challenges for older adults in Connecticut?
Connecticut isn’t all that different than other states with one of the most challenging obstacles for adults as they age, navigating a complex, and at times confusing landscape of Long Term Services and Supports.
You offer numerous programs, what are the ones most in demand?
Access to In-Home Services and Supports to delay or prevent institutionalization, Caregiver Resources, Information and Assistance with Health Insurance Options and Medicare and Grant Opportunities to the Community.
For new caregivers of older parents, what areas should they focus on to get them started?
That’s a tough questions because each family situation is a bit different. I would start with calling a CHOICES counselor at one of five CT Area Agencies on Aging to get individual options that suit the caregiver and care recipient. An Information Specialist will need to get personal information and will then review available options to you and offer assistance in accessing the services you feel are suitable for your loved one.
It could be connecting an individual with the VA, respite for the caregiver, or possibly in-home services through the CT Homecare Program for Elders.
You help older adults avoid scams, can you discuss the program?
SWCAA has an Informational Specialist who coordinates the Senior Medicare Patrol Program. This is a nationwide program that provides one-on-one counseling and assistance to people on Medicare help them better understand their Medicare summary notices and understand billing and other paperwork that may be confusing or overwhelming. If there is a suspicious case or circumstances, the SMP Coordinator or a trained volunteer, can help beneficiaries report fraud to the proper state and federal authorities. Community SMP presentations are offered at a whole host of area sites including libraries, Senior Centers, Community Centers, and faith based organizations. SWCAA will work with any organization that is willing to sponsor a community presentation to alert beneficiaries how to; Prevent, Detect and Report fraud and scams.