Piedmont Senior Resources earns national recognition

Published 7:32 pm Friday, September 2, 2022

FARMVILLE – One local group recently brought home a national award. Piedmont Senior Resources (PSR) received a 2022 Aging Innovations Award for its virtual program.

The award was given out from USAging, during its annual conference in Austin, Texas.

“PSR was so excited to receive our second national award in a row from USAging,” PSR Executive Director and CEO Justine Young said. ”Our Virtual Program, created and operated by Nikki Dean and Brandon Akers, was so appreciated by clients who were more isolated than ever last year due to COVID-19.”

What is the virtual program?

When the pandemic left many seniors homebound, Dean decided to do something about it.

“We did a survey and found that many of our clients in rural areas of the seven counties served by PSR were interested in doing something virtually,” Dean noted. “We purchased tablets and gave instructions on how to do Zoom. The clients loved being able to see each other by connecting virtually.”

The adoption of virtual programming created the need for devices to help clients of Piedmont Senior Resources connect with their peers and families online. Special funding helped purchase five tablets for a pilot program with clients who had varying levels of technological knowledge. With some training, older adults became familiar with the program, and their participation grew. After a successful pilot, PSR extended the program to include an additional 20 tablets.

“PSR has always focused on being responsive to our client needs, but this program in particular was very special. It’s an honor to be recognized for simply doing what we always do — helping seniors in our community,” Dean said. “This program not only uplifted our clients but also our staff. It was beautiful to see clients’ smiling faces online.”

What award did Piedmont Senior Resources earn?

The 2022 USAging Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards program recognizes Area Agencies on Aging and Title VI Native American Aging Programs that have developed and implemented cutting-edge concepts, innovative ideas and successful strategies to support older adults and their caregivers. Among the selection criteria was the ease with which other agencies could replicate the program in their communities.

“Only 36 of these USAging awards are given annually nationwide,” Young added. “It is such an honor for PSR. We are a small agency, but we have a big impact in the seven rural counties that we serve.”

“Through the Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards, we salute our members’ outstanding accomplishments and hold up their programs in the hopes that doing so will seed replication and additional innovation by their peers around the country,” Chief Executive Officer of USAging Sandy Markwood said. “We applaud our members for their tireless efforts to creatively develop vital services and supports for older adults, their caregivers and people with disabilities in communities nationwide.”

The 2022 USAging Aging Innovations Awards honored traditional and new strategies in a range of categories, including Advocacy, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Elder Abuse Prevention, Healthy Aging, Home and Community-Based Services, Nutrition, Social Engagement and Workforce Development.

For information about another upcoming PSR project, click here.