K/T AAA: Connecting the Aging Population to a Wide Array of Programs

K/T AAA: Connecting the Aging Population to a Wide Array of Programs

The Kings/Tulare Area Agency on Aging (K/T AAA) was created in 1965 to be the leading local authority and advocate for issues and concerns facing adults as they age. Intended to serve the most economically and socially at-risk, K/T AAA coordinates a wide range of community-based services to address the variety of needs that develop with age, whether it be Medicare counseling, home-delivered meals, writing a will, finding a caregiver or employment, or fighting off depression. In general, if a Tulare or Kings County resident is older, at risk of institutionalization, has low income, and/or needs help in arranging for appropriate services, K/T AAA can probably help. Through its comprehensive database of community resources, K/T AAA can connect the aging population to a wide array of programs and services tailored to their specific needs.

Under the umbrella of HHSA’s Adult Services Division, programs carried out by the K/T AAA include:

Food and Nutrition
Nutrition Sites: The K/T AAA provides nutritious meals for seniors at sites that are easily accessible, such as senior/community centers, where the opportunity to socialize with peers is as important a part of the program as the meal itself. Special programs, classes, games, or time to just chat are available at the nutrition sites in addition to the nutritious meals. Congregate meals are served five days a week at most senior centers in Tulare and Kings Counties.

Home-Delivered Meals: The Home-Delivered Meals Program offers temporary or long-term service to those 60 years and older and their spouses regardless of age, who, due to chronic illness or recent hospitalization, cannot prepare nutritious meals for themselves and do not have friends, relatives, or paid help to provide assistance. This program helps homebound individuals maintain adequate nutrition. 

Senior Employment & Training
The Senior Employment & Training program offers temporary, part-time training opportunities in such settings as non-profit businesses or government agencies. In addition to on-site training, each person receives a full range of job-search techniques, employment contacts, and placement assistance to enable them to find permanent employment. Community Services and Employment Training (CSET) works with the K/T AAA to provide assistance to seniors in resume writing, computer literacy, job search skills, and on-the-job training.

Medicare Counseling (HICAP)
HICAP (Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program) counselors are trained in Medi-Cal and Medicare and can help seniors navigate the complex insurance options to find the best fit. HICAP services are free of charge and are available at several locations throughout Tulare and Kings Counties, including Visalia, Tulare, Porterville, Dinuba, and Hanford. Individuals can also learn about Medicare or Medi-Cal by attending one of the many community presentations or conferences conducted by HICAP counselors.

Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP)
When everyday tasks such as cooking dinner, getting to the doctor, or managing money become too difficult, MSSP services are available to provide the needed support and enable frail seniors to continue living in their own homes. MSSP services not only enhance the quality of life for those it serves but also reduce potential costs for care by decreasing the need for nursing home care. The program provides referrals to a broad array of community services to help overcome any barriers to receiving proper health care and to help clients perform daily tasks they would have trouble doing alone. Where needed, MSSP may also install grab bars, ramps, medication monitors, and other safety features in the home.

Legal Services
Legal Services are available for the most socially and economically at-risk of our senior population. Seniors can receive legal advice and counsel regarding issues unique to older adults. Among the service Legal Assistance provides is help with filling out an Advance Health Care Directive, so individuals can designated someone to speak to doctors on their behalf, determine the type of health care they wish to receive, and make sure that their wishes are followed regarding the provision of life support.   

Information, Assistance, and Referral
Staff in this program are trained to help seniors find answers and solutions to their questions and problems. Services might include locating community resources or government benefits; finding a caregiver to help at home; notarizing documents; completing and understanding forms; assisting with problem resolution; and making connections with other organizations that can help. This comprehensive assistance is provided by phone, by appointment at a community senior center, or through home visits.

Family Caregiver Support (FCSP)
FCSP addresses the unique needs of family members who provide care to an elderly relative. Services are also available to other unpaid caregivers of individuals aged 60 and over. Available services include providing information to caregivers about available services and connecting caregivers to those services; arranging for respite care, so that caregivers can have time to themselves, to attend to other responsibilities, or just to rejuvenate and recharge; and providing training to caregivers and other family members who are responsible for frail, older adults. 

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Services
The purpose of the Ombudsman Program is to promote the interests, well-being, and rights of the residents of long-term care facilities (such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities). Ombudsmen personally visit the residents in their facilities to look into their concerns and provide support and assistance in resolving them. They can provide residents, family members, friends, and caregivers with information regarding admission, resident care, rights, relocation, abuse, and many other long-term care issues. As many as 50% of individuals living in long-term care facilities have no one to act on their behalf when issues arise regarding their treatment and care. Many residents of such facilities have little contact with the outside world, and many feel that they lack control over their own lives. It is especially important for seniors lacking a family support system to have access to someone who can assist them. Ombudsmen can act as a voice for these individuals.

Donations to support these integral senior programs may be made by choosing K/T AAA under the list of supported programs. 

For more information about any of the K/T AAA programs, please call 1-800-321-2462 to get the help you need! Or e-mail your questions to ktaaa@tularecounty.ca.gov.


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