Area Agency on Aging offers vouchers

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    By Kay Kaylor
    Special to The PREVIEW
    Do you need help with gas for traveling to Durango or Farmington for a nonemergency medical appointment? Do you or does someone you know age 60 and older need assistance at home with personal care or homemaking? Or do you, as a nonprofessional caregiver, need a break from caregiving a person age 60 or older or a grandchild?
    The San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging (AAA) currently offers gas and in-home care grants to assist low-income Pagosa Springs residents through the Older Americans Act. To qualify, participants must be age 60 and older (or 55 and older for caregiving a child related by blood or marriage) and must undergo an assessment for in-home needs.
    For the $18 gas voucher, the applicant must provide proof of the medical appointment (a pre-travel form is available and other items are acceptable) once the trip has been completed. The issued voucher must be redeemed only at the Sonoco station in downtown Pagosa Springs. The gas voucher participant may choose to use a volunteer driver, such as a family member, neighbor or friend who holds a valid driver’s license. Drivers must sign a liability release form.
    To use the $400 in-home care vouchers, the participant must coordinate with one of the professional caregiving agencies. Each voucher is equivalent to 20 hours of services. The personal care, homemaker or respite voucher will expire if services are not started within the first 30 days but can be used, if the caregiving agency allows, periodically until the grant year ends June 30. Priority will be given to people who are most in need and to those who haven’t used an in-home voucher in the past two years.
    In the same spirit of serving as many people as possible, a limited number of gas vouchers will be allowed for each applicant in a grant year.
    The AAA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, operates under the belief that older adults have the right to live independently and with dignity and respect, even if they are not fully able to care for themselves.
    The AAA receives funding from local, state and federal sources and helps fund local service providers who offer congregate (community dining sites) meals and home-delivered meals, assisted transportation/escort services, in-home services for home health and personal care, legal services for elder abuse prevention and respite grants to family caregivers.
    The AAA has an office at the Senior Center, which is located in the Ross Aragon Community Center, 451 Hot Springs Blvd. The agency serves older adults who are living in Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan counties with offices also in Durango, Cortez and Cahone.
    In addition to the above vouchers, services include material aid vouchers (currently, residents are added to waiting lists), long-term care options counseling, Medicare benefits counseling and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman advocacy program for residents who are living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
    To apply for gas and in-home care vouchers, you must call or visit in person at the AAA office. For more information, assistance with long-term care options or complaints for the ombudsman, please contact Kay Kaylor at the AAA office, 264-0501, ext. 1. You may also visit the AAA website: www.sjbaaa.org.