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Dear Beaver Island Residents,

I want to extend our appreciation to the Islanders for hosting the Commission on Aging's Beaver Island Task Force on April 8th. Thank you to Carolyn Works and Joan Vyse for refreshments, Jean Palmer for her assistance, and Nancy Tritsch, CoA Board member. Thank you also to PABI Board members Don Tritsch and John Fogg for their tour of the new Community Center, and Pete Lodico with BI Senior Housing for information on the proposed new housing development.

Members of the CoA task force in attendance were County Commissioners Shirley Roloff, Shirlene Tripp (representing Robert Drebenstedt), Corrine Russell, committee chair, and Margo Johnson. Our organization consultant David Emmel, of Abbot and Emmel from Midland, also accompanied this group.

The purpose of the meeting was to get input from residents and to hear concerns about senior services.
The CoA recently published our Strategic Plan Development, which was produced from the work of seven ad hoc committee's: Direct Care, Programs, Marketing, Transportation, Adult Day Services, Office Administration, and CoA Board. These committees included community stakeholders, CoA board members and staff, and County Commissioners. They worked very hard researching and developing plans to address issues identified in the county-wide assessment last year. You can find copies at your Library or at the Health Center.
Many concerns were voiced at our meeting, and I want to reassure you that the CoA is listening. Very positive feedback was brought back to the mainland. We are taking your comments into consideration in developing and refining our programs and services. We hope you will continue to provide suggestions in an ongoing, positive dialogue as we work to serve all the seniors and their caregivers in Charlevoix County.

The CoA board voted in January to help purchase Community Center kitchen equipment for up to $68,362, contingent upon a contract with the PABI. Work on this was suspended pending our meeting with Island residents. Details of a contract are yet to be worked out including, how the COA will provide a senior meal site in the Community Center, who will employ staff, how the equipment will be used, financial obligations of leasing the equipment, etc… Contract language must be approved by the CoA, the County's legal counsel and the County Commissioners. We look forward to extending capital improvements to a BI facility similar to what we are doing in other areas of the County.

Capital expenditures will be in addition to, not in place of current services such as Homemaking, Personal Care, and Respite, which are based on demand. We are trying to help meet the growing demand of the Island's senior residents by offering to sponsor training for more Certified Nurses aides to provide the services. Other than adult day services, Islanders can take advantage of lawn care and cleanup and snow removal reimbursement contracts, the new Alzheimer's Lifesaver Program, Sunday Dinners at a local restaurant, Information and Referral by using our new 800 number, ( 866-428-5185), Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program for Medicare Part D, free tax services, and much more. There are also now two other agencies assisting in-home clients with greater needs—Care Management and Medicaid Waiver Services are offered by Area Agency on Aging and Northern Health Care Management out of Traverse City.
We have been and will continue to work with BIRHC to promote a pilot program for physical therapy for seniors on the Island. This effort includes assistance to providers for their initial transportation. Unfortunately, the CoA is not a Medicare-certified provider of skilled nursing and therefore not qualified or authorized to do physical therapy. Though physical therapy is not within our scope of practice, we are open to assisting with medical transportation reimbursement for Islanders required to come to the mainland for medical services. Please contact us for inquiries and we will be happy to assist you.

There were many other positive suggestions. We know we need to keep communications open to Islanders, and will let you know of upcoming services and events. We at the CoA are listening, and strive to improve the quality and diversity of services to seniors throughout the county.

Working together to serve seniors,
Susan R. Bergmann, RN. BSN, Director


A CoA Overview

Over the past 15 months, the CoA board, staff, and community stakeholders, including commissioners, have been engaged in an intense effort to expand, enhance, and improve the quality of senior programs and services provided by the CoA. We began with an independent outside assessment, and continued with brainstorming, prioritizing, and analyzing actions through a series of ad hoc committees. We presented this report on the status of our accomplishments, recommendations, and plans to the commissioners on April 2, 2008.
We view this work as a strategic plan in progress. There are many actions yet to be analyzed and costs to be determined. It will take additional time to implement the decisions already made and to finalize future plans. In reality, this work will never be complete. We will always be striving to better align our work to support our seniors and their caregivers, both directly and indirectly. We intend to continually improve quality against the benchmark we set with the assessment, taking into account the community's evolving expectations.

As you peruse our ad hoc committee summaries, we welcome you to contact any board or staff member to get questions answered and concerns raised. (Complete reports are available at your local senior center or library for the public.)
The CoA is grateful to all the community members who worked hard on this project with us, and we extend special appreciation to the county commissioners for their involvement, advice and continuing support.

Working together for seniors,
Susan Bergmann and Joan Blanchard
Strategic Report

Background - In January 2007, the CoA board initiated a self-assessment, conducted by objective outside consultants, to provide direction for formulating spending plans that address the greatest senior needs and to serve as a base line for measuring future improvement in CoA performance. The results yielded significant opportunity to expand and add programs and services and to improve the quality of what the CoA already offers. Over 60 potential actions were identified. Over 30 community senior stakeholders, commissioners and CoA board members met, with the unbiased assistance of the MSU County Extension Service, to prioritize the actions based on importance and achievability. The actions were then grouped into seven categories (reflected as areas of concern in the assessment) and ad hoc CoA board committees were appointed and, again, included a number of community stakeholders.

The committee recommendations, CoA board conclusions and ongoing work in progress are contained in this book. Behind each main tab is a summary of the committees' work including projected timing and costs identified to date.
Key Accomplishments and Plans include the following:

· Convert four CENAs to full time, two in direct care and two in adult day services
· Two RNs converted to full time, one to coordinate scheduling, training, assessments, etc, and one in adult day services
· One homemaker converted to full time
· All waiting lists, maximum hours per client and proof of income requirements eliminated
· Homemakers dedicated to homebound seniors(not used for cleaning of senior centers)
· Cross training of in-home workers to be completed by fiscal year end
· Direct care compensation study completed; increases to be proposed and implemented this year
· Need for full time volunteer/activities coordinator identified for proposal this year
· Client statement of services and service satisfaction survey to be implemented this year
· In-home safety maintenance program under development
· Part time maintenance personnel hired for BASC and EJ centers (freed up homemakers)
· Policy established and funded for senior safety and health emergencies
· Free ridership pilot program recommended with Charlevoix Transit
· Adult day services available five days per week (up from three days)
· Wake-up/morning care under study for adult day clients
· Free newsletter distribution greatly expanded, resulting in new client interest and inquiries
· Outside marketing consultant services under review; adopting Grandvue marketing model; working with SCORE for marketing/outreach guidance
· Organization development consultant hired to assist with definition of roles, staffing needs, and staff performance/skill fit
· Fund balance policy established
· Board training scheduled for board accountability, teamwork, roles/relationships

Financial Implications
The total strategic plan development costs identified thus far will not be fully realized in the current fiscal year. Partial costs can easily be contained within the 'new and enhanced programs' line item in the 2007/2008 budget. The 2008/2009 budget will need to be increased significantly for expected ongoing costs and capital improvements.


Spring Clean-up Help

Notice to all Charlevoix County Seniors who have used the Sheriff's/Commission on Aging Community Service Work program for spring and fall cleanup in the past, or need assistance with lawn cleanup: The Sheriff is no longer able to provide this service.

The CoA offers spring and fall cleanup program assistance to reimburse senior households for the expense of this program. It's an income/sliding scale reimbursement program. This program works the same as the lawn mowing/snow plowing program.
How to Access this program:

Call the CoA office and give your name, address, and age, and ask for a lawn cleanup contract. We'll mail it to you. This determines the amount of reimbursement for which you are eligible.

Once signed up for this program, you may hire whom you want to rake your leaves and cleanup your lawn; this does not include other services such as tree or hedge trimming, rototilling gardens/flower beds, planting trees or shrubs, the cost of lawn bags, or removal of the debris.

You will need to first pay whomever you hire, and submit the receipt, along with your contract for reimbursement.
Call us if you need assistance finding someone.