The semimonthly Interagency meeting of resources providers was held on Jan. 4, at the Emery County Courthouse where service providers exchange information and glean new ideas. These meetings help to avoid overlapping of services and coordinate and support classes offered.
In attendance were: Laurie Pitchforth, Emery County RSVP; Dana Olsen, Southeastern Utah Department of Public Health; Emery E. Jones, Four Corners Mental Health; Patsy DeCaro, Care-A-Van; Richard Jewkes, Active Re-Entry of Carbon County; Christine Jensen, USU Extension; Kathy Thomas, Active Re-Entry and Emery Food Bank; Larry Heaton, Adult Protective Services; Barbara Dougherty, Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments and Sylvia Nelson representing Habitat for Humanity of Castle Country.
Christine Jensen is teaching a finance class through the Division of Workforce Services and the HEAT program, helping budgeting, realization about bills versus income, and needs versus wants. Some people do not think to ask for help until almost too late to get help; such as past due utility bills and the power or heat are going to be cut off the next day. Jensen has been able get people some real help for their future.
The HEAT program is in effect and there are HEAT crisis funds available for those who qualify and even need furnace repair. HEAT applicants are shown a video to help them with ideas to better winterize their homes. There are so many little things that can be done to save on heating bills. "Right now there is a 115 applicant waiting list for help through the weatherization program," said Barbara Dougherty, "We can't keep in the plastic storm window kits that are such heat savers."
Information was given that Utah Power is offering a limited amount of compact fluorescent light bulbs to people who are trying to be conscientious of their power bills.
Richard Jewkes brought up the importance of looking closely into the costs of medical care after retirement before retiring. Sometimes just having extra help in filling out the forms and understanding what will happen after a certain time and age will save thousands of dollars later.
Social Security only comes to Price only on the second Wednesday of each month from 9:30 a..m.- 2:30 p.m. and not at all to Emery County, and getting the information that is needed can be a very big problem for a lot of people. Active Re-Entry will help people fill out these complicated forms and there is a way to get help over the phone also. People can contact Kathy Thomas at 381-5410.
Thomas stated that there is advocacy and referral service available for many needs. She asks that family, neighbors, and friends who see a need either urge and help the people in need call for help, or call for that person. The resources service groups cannot give the help if they are not told of the need.
Jewkes is concerned and trying to get help for the blind and disabled who need use of a free telephone number information service that has now been discontinued. He said that Emery Telcom is looking into putting this needed service into effect again. People needing this service can call Active Re-Entry or Emery Telcom.
Laurie Pitchforth with RSVP said that she has set up 10 volunteer stations and has some, but not nearly enough volunteers signed up. RSVP has a grant that will help to offer a class on recognizing medicaid fraud and she is looking into a way to get people help with their income taxes again.
Thomas said that periodically there is recreation offered to the elderly and disabled in the area and the next outing will be a trip to Wendover. People can call 381-5410 to reserve a seat. Transportation is provided; applicants must pay own expenses. This service is also available to nursing home residents and others who would like to go. Call now; trip is in January.
Jewkes stated that there is a home caregiver support course being offered right now. These are three to five hour classes and help for caregivers of, for example, Alzheimer and stroke victims. Professional nursing people come to talk about Medicare and Medicaid. Meetings are now in Price, will be in Moab, and before too long, in both Castle Dale and Green River. If you are interested, call Active Re-Entry. Jewkes feels that it is very important to know who is doing in home caregiving. He feels that there should be a better licensing system; thus screening system. There is upcoming legislation sponsored by Brad King who will introduce a bill addressing this issue with the help from the Division of Aging and Adult Protection. Since no money is attached to this type of bill, it has a good chance of passing.
Thomas stated that on the last Monday of each month at 3 p.m. at the food bank, a care-giver support group meets addressing the needs of those giving the care.
There is also a senior support group through Active Re-Entry who help individuals and also have round table discussions with nursing home staffs where caregivers, family, and residents can bring up problems and find solutions.
A representative of Habitat for Humanity reported the recent completion of the first HFH house in Emery County, the rededication and upcoming occupancy of the second HFH house built in Helper, and that applications are being taken for the two houses which will be built within the next two years in Castle Dale. The 2002 board is in place and looking for two more board members from either county. To apply or volunteer call 435-636-3230.
Emery Jones of Four Corners Mental Health told of the upcoming public meeting to be held on Jan. 24, at 6 p.m. at the Castle Dale Senior Center with information about mental health and substance abuse issues. Input from the public is invited; concerned family and friends are welcome.
The next meeting was set up for March 1, at 8:30 a.m at the Emery County Courthouse. This is a public meeting.