Finding the help one needs

Published 4:46 pm Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Buckingham County TRIAD, an organization for seniors to prevent them from being victims of crime, is run by seniors themselves.

The organization held a community event Oct. 11 to discuss resources for those who are over the age of 60 and may need support.

Prince Edward County TRIAD held a similar event in August.

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TRIAD is an organization made up of senior citizens, members of law enforcement and community organizations to combat crimes or abuses targeted at senior citizens.

Stephanie Coleman with the Buckingham County Department of Social Security (DSS) Office spoke about organizations that provide resources to seniors that include assistance for food and energy, protection and learning opportunities for health care, Medicare and nutrition.

“Being with a group of seniors is very near and dear to my heart these days, because I am a senior,” Coleman said.

Coleman who has worked with the DSS for nearly 40 years, has recently taken on the role as director.

Coleman said the DSS provides benefits and services that can help supplement limited income that can come from retirement.

These include items such as SNAP, or food stamps, and Medicaid, which is set to expand in the next year.

There is also energy assistance, which includes heating for winter and air conditioning for summer.

“Now remind you I do say assistance, because these programs are not designed to take all of your bill, but to help and to give you a hand-up in meeting the gaps in those limits,” Coleman said.

Other resources Coleman spoke about included adult protective services, which recently moved from DSS to the Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services.

This resource can be used for those who may have physical or mental challenges, or who may be experiencing abuse from a loved one.

Coleman said abuse isn’t always financial. It can range from physical, emotional and sexual abuse. A senior, to meet the needs of those around them, may be neglecting their own health. Coleman said resources such as nursing facilities are available for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia and may not be capable of making decisions on their own.

“It’s one of those things you don’t want to have to do, but it gets to a point where it is in their best interest,” Coleman said.

She spoke about companion services, or services where people are trained to run errands for seniors, drive them to doctor appointments and household duties if needed.

Coleman said DSS funds are limited and there is a waiting list, but she said the potential is possible. Piedmont Senior Resources (PSR) in Farmville has a similar program, she said.

She said PACE provides comprehensive care for those 55 and older who want to stay at home, such as transporting people to medical appointments.

For mental health needs, such as illness, grief or depression, Crossroads Community Services offers resources, as well as a counseling service in Dillwyn.

Sheriff William “Bill” Kidd gave an outline of the top scam calls that people can receive.

Since joining TRIAD, Kidd said the sheriff’s office helped start Project Lifesaver. It’s a device that can be put on someone’s wrist, such as someone with Alzheimer’s. If the person wanders away, the sheriff’s office can find them.

Kidd said scam artists have outpaced law enforcement in how to con people, but said seniors can find ways to protect themselves from common scams such as receiving calls about needing to pay funds to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), callers claiming to be government agencies threatening arrest, and tech support scams, which pose as companies such as Microsoft.

“Don’t be pressured into making fast decisions,” Kidd said, also advising people to take caution about where or who they disclose personal information to and to verify an emergency situation before offering to send money.

TRIAD representative Carolyn Davis encouraged people to be vocal about needs that they or seniors they knew had. TRIAD had applications that people could fill out and give to TRIAD representatives.

“You are the pulse of our different communities,” Davis said.

Mary Eldridge, associate pastor Baptist Union Baptist Church, said she compiled four pages worth of requests from seniors. The requests included having companions at house, needing fuel, windows replaced, areas that needed power washing and fixing water leaks in house.

Davis said all applications will be reviewed by TRIAD members. Then representatives would contact applicants to let them know whether TRIAD can help, or transfer the applicant to another agency.

Dillwyn Town Mayor Linda Venable Paige noted that the town is currently involved with a housing renovation project for six houses. The project is possible through grant with the Department of Housing and Community Development. Paige said in response to a call she received from a resident who was experiencing roof leaks, Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity offered to provide contact information for carpenters who could help.

The TRIAD organization meets on the second Thursday of each month, 1:30 p.m. at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8446 at 14405 W. James Anderson Highway.

To reach the Buckingham Department of Social Services, call (434) 969-4246. To reach PSR, call (434) 767-5588. To reach the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, call (804) 662-7000.