By Annelle Norman
On July 16, the Circle of Care board of trustees hosted Northwest Regional Council on Aging (NWRC) staff members in Point Roberts. Health and human services planner Ryan Blackwell brought with him community programs director Melody Coleman, community programs supervisor Stacy Malone-Miller and Medicaid transportation services manager Aly Horry. Over several hours the group discussed both organizations’ histories and missions and the various services for which NWRC can provide support, training and funding.
NWRC serves just over 110,000 people over age 60 in Whatcom, Skagit, Island and San Juan counties. They are an association of county governments and are governed by a board of directors of two elected officials from each county. Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws and county council member Satpal Sidhu sit on that board.
NWRC’s staff of advisors and case workers can offer many services to seniors who want to age at home, to people of all ages with disabilities and to all caregivers. A caseworker can guide you through obtaining in-home care and support services, information about medical insurance and qualifying for Medicaid, caregiver support, housing and long-term care. One of the programs offered is the family caregiver support program which seeks to provide services, support, education and respite for the spouse, relative or friend providing in-home-care. The tailored caregiver assessment and referral program seeks to assess and identify where services and support would be helpful through screening, assessing and care planning.
NWRC staff have a wealth of information and a genuine desire to help you navigate the challenges of aging or disabilities or caring for a loved one. You may call them on 360/738-2500 or call Circle of Care on 360/945-5222 and we will put you in touch directly with the person who would be most helpful.
In subsequent issues, we will feature one or two of these services/programs in depth so that the Point Roberts community can understand what is available and who to call when the need arises.
One of the challenges that Point Roberts residents continue to face is having insurance pay for long term in-home-care. Insurance companies and Medicare currently only provide payment for those services if they are provided by certified home care aides who are employed by a private agency. Unfortunately, the various private agencies in Whatcom County have not been able to send employees to Point Roberts due to the constraints and challenges of commuting and crossing two borders. Medicaid, however, will pay a client designated caregiver as long as they take the training and get certified with the state. Circle of Care hopes to find a workable solution with those payment providers and/or one of the agencies so that all residents can take advantage of paid, professional in-home-care.
Circle of Care is currently working with several residents and we need more volunteers to: provide rides to doctor and clinic appointments, provide meals, do light housework or gardening chores, run errands, provide pet care, etc. Please give yourself the joy of feeling helpful by providing needed help and support. If you’d like to volunteer, please leave your name and number on the Circle of Care message service on 360/945-5222 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.