Upper Shore Aging, Inc. (USA), the nonprofit Area Agency on Aging serving over 31,000 seniors in Caroline, Kent, and Talbot counties, has a new logo. It is no accident that the logo the organization selected includes a lotus blossom – the symbol of strength, resilience, and rebirth – selected with staff input and representative of USA’s renewal in serving some of the Eastern Shore’s most vulnerable – its aging population. Under the leadership of a new executive director, Andrew Hollis, and his leadership team, and board president Bill Shrieves, the organization is tackling the growing demand for the services that the agency offers.
“Andy Hollis has brought a fresh new approach to the work being done at USA since his arrival a year ago. He has engaged the community in learning about the gaps in service and the growing needs, as well as tackled the agency’s staff vacancies. We are now fully staffed and can serve those in need on the Mid-Shore,” comments Bill Shrieves, president of the board of USA, who has been the driving force in the agency’s recovery. Shrieves, a pancreatic cancer survivor, opened Comfort Keepers and is an active volunteer with the Mid-Shore Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, the Bay Hundred Community Volunteers, and the St. Michaels Rotary. This year he received the Community Impact Award from Talbot County’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism.
Hollis is no stranger to working with the senior population as before his appointment at USA, he worked for Delmarva Community Services, Inc., as County Manager for Talbot County, and for Londonderry on the Tred Avon Retirement Community. He adds, “My experience over the years has shown me that our most vulnerable seniors don’t know they have a voice and suffer in silence, often not asking for the services they need. We now have a dynamic team to address some of the challenges seniors are facing today – food insecurity, re-engagement at our senior centers, the equipment and resources to age safely at home, the rising costs of prescription drugs, and the gaps in meeting the costs for assisted living today. I believe with our new staffing; we can start to impact the needs in these areas.”
Tracey Watters, RN, BSN, BC, Kent County Health Department Director of the AERS Program, refers clients to the USA’s programs. She comments, “My role is to see what services can help the seniors most. These are the elderly who are low-income residents who may not have a family to care for them and who are on Medicaid. Andy Hollis has a heart for the clients he serves. He desires to serve them and get them what they need.”
“As the new Executive Director of USA, he reached out to the community to see where the problems existed and began addressing them systematically. He has hired a phenomenal team that is also based on heart. The new team is about helping people and if they don’t know the answer, they will find it. The client is at the center of this care delivery no matter what the obstacle is.”
Upper Shore Aging develops and administers programs and services and serves as the chief advocate for the seniors it serves. Its programs function cooperatively to maintain and improve the quality of life for seniors, working to help them remain healthy and independent. Among the programs offered through the agency include:
- Operating five senior centers in Kent, Caroline, and Talbot counties. These centers are a hub for activities helping seniors stay active and involved in their community.
- Operating the Meals-On-Wheels program which delivers meals to homebound seniors.
- Providing a Senior Care Program that supports seniors aging in place, keeping seniors living in their own homes, and at a lower cost than a long-term care facility. Services vary according to need but may include personal care, light housekeeping chores, and emergency response systems, and case management services.
- Managing the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), sponsored by USA and funded by AmeriCorps, which recruits and places older adults (age 55+) in a diverse range of volunteer activities to meet various community needs.
- Providing one-on-one counseling, information, and group seminars on Medicare, Medigap and Medicaid insurance programs, private health insurance issues, and long-term care insurance.
- Operating Maryland Access Point (MAP) a one-stop source of information and assistance for family members, caregivers, disabled adults, and seniors, which helps them navigate through the maze of long-term care services and links them with local and state programs.
- Providing Senior Medicare Patrol to educate clients about these programs and to prevent incidents of fraud and abuse.
- Providing a Long-Term Care Ombudsman who investigates and resolves complaints of elder abuse and neglect in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living facilities.
In addition, USA provides senior legal assistance, refers senior housing needs to Upper Shore Aging Housing Corporation, administers the Senior Assisted Living Subsidy program for low and moderate-income seniors, providing access to participating assisted living facilities; provides case management services for Medicaid-eligible seniors to receive home or community-based services, provides a Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Program and Family Caregiver Support Program, partners with Delmarva Community Transit to provide transportation to its senior centers, and offers a shopping service for seniors in Kent county who unable to shop for themselves.
“Last year my wife and I moved to St. Michaels from North Carolina where we lived for 30 years. The staff at Upper Shore Aging helped us to enroll in a better Medicare Part D drug plan and helped us evaluate Medicare supplemental insurance, as well as our enrollment in Medicare. They really helped us find the best coverage for our medications and the best coverage for the payments we were making, taking a comprehensive look at what we were getting. This was an undiscovered gem for us,” comments resident Stephen Parr of St. Michaels.
“Upper Shore Aging is giving services back to people in the community – especially services that are impactful like Medicare Part D. Their success is only possible based upon the professionals they have on their team, not only volunteers but more importantly the staff who have a passion for their work.”
Chuck Callahan, President of the Talbot County Council adds, “I have been so impressed at the response of Upper Shore Aging in meeting the growing needs of our seniors. Their staff, led by Andy and Bill, are making a significant impact on the quality of care our seniors are getting every day across the region. We applaud their hard work and tenacity in moving the agency forward in a positive way.”
For information about Upper Shore Aging, Inc or to donate, visit uppershoreaging.org or call 410-778-6000.
Upper Shore Aging, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that is the designated Area Agency on Aging for Talbot, Caroline, and Kent counties, Maryland, serving a potential market of nearly 31,000 persons over the age of 60 years. Our organization develops and manages a coordinated program of services that work together to help elders to remain, and live well, in the community as long as possible. Upper Shore Aging, Inc. works closely with the Maryland Department of Aging to serve the needs of its clients.