• 72°

Agency receives $68K in grants

The Farmville-based Piedmont Senior Resources and Area Agency on Aging (PSR) recently received nearly $68,500 in grants from Meals on Wheels America, the Centra Foundation and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT).

Justine Young

PSR Executive Director Justine Young said the grant received from Meals on Wheels America was $1,500 for assisting seniors who own pets.

“We have a lot of seniors who struggle with low incomes and their pet’s their only friend,” Young said. “They live alone, they’ve got a pet and they have a hard time taking care of the pet sometimes because they’re having a hard enough time taking care of themselves,” Young said. “So, we’ve got this $1,500 (grant) to help provide food for these pets so we are able to distribute dog food to our seniors.”

She said the $22,000 grant from Centra Foundation helps provide care for seniors for 30 days following a discharge from the hospital.

“It does not have to do with income; it is need based,” Young said. “So, if you just had a hip replacement and you live alone and you’re going home, we can provide meals for 30 days, we can provide a (person) to come in and help you, you know, wash the clothes, make the bed, maybe fix your meals or go to the grocery store if needed.”

She said the program would also provide grab bars in bathrooms if a senior needing the service had fallen.

She also said the program helps reduce readmissions to the hospital.

“We actually had that program last year,” Young said. This is our second full year through the Centra Foundation doing it. We received $22,000 this year and based on the information that I have, we ended up with a readmission rate (for seniors) at (Centra Southside Community Hospital) of seven percent,” Young said.

She said the hospital’s general readmission rate is around 12 percent.

The DRPT grant PSR received is for $45,000.

“It’s a two-part grant — one part was $5,000 which provides transportation vouchers,” Young said. “And what that means is when somebody calls us and says, ‘I need transportation to my doctor’s appointment, I don’t have anyway to get there,’ we can provide them with a voucher (that) they can give to a cab driver then basically we will pay the cab driver through that voucher,” Young said.

She said the transportation program is available to the seven counties PSR serves — which includes Amelia, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward — to those aged 60 and older.

“The second part of that (DRPT) grant … for about $40,000 is actually for a new vehicle in order to provide transportation. It is a wheelchair-accessible vehicle,” Young said. “We will be utilizing that for transportation in this region.”

Young said the grants will have a huge impact on transportation, which she cited as an issue.

“Another major part for the hospital and medical providers is that people have doctors appointments and they cannot get there and they miss their appointment because they don’t have adequate transportation and reliable transportation,” Young said.

PSR recently consolidated its offices to the College Plaza Shopping Center at 1413 S. Main St. in Farmville.