More than 130 individuals gathered at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame recently to hear information about the Fiscal Year 2015 Area Plan on Aging as prepared by staff at CMPDD. This Plan is a document which outlines the programs and services to be offered to seniors throughout the seven-county area. It also identifies the needs, concerns, and priority issues which will be addressed by staff as they plan their work activities for the upcoming year, beginning October 1, 2014.
Ms. Chelsea Crittle, Director of Aging Programs informed the attendees of the services provided by CMPDD’s Area Agency on Aging, such as: The PAY as You Go Meal Service, Homemaker Program, Transportation Program, Congregate and Home-Delivered Meals Program, Senior Community Service Employment Program, State Health Insurance Program, Senior Medicare Patrol, and the AmeriCorps’s VISTA Program. She also said that the Area Agency on Aging anticipates an increase of funding this year, possibly up to 15%. Additionally, she explained the waiting list policy, discussed actual meal and delivery costs, and targeted population for services by counties. Ms. Crittle continued to explain the eligibility requirements for aging services and emphasized how the Area Agency on Aging projects to provide services during the upcoming fiscal year. She presented a complete overview which included a power point presentation and a summary of Fiscal Year 2014’s programmatic performance of aging programs.
Joining with CMPDD at the public hearing was Ms. Melinda Bertucci, State Director of the Division of Aging and Adult Services and Ms. Marissa Whitehouse, State MAC Center Administrator. Ms. Bertucci spoke about the initiatives which will be undertaken for Fiscal Year 2015 by the Mississippi Department of Human Services/Division of Aging and Adult Services. She emphasized many of the services available through the Aging Network and discussed the Division of Aging and Adult Services commitment to serving seniors throughout the state. Also, Ms. Whitehead informed the attendees about the opening of the new Mississippi Access to Care Centers (MAC Centers) that will provide information and referral services, counseling, health screening, and long term care services for the elderly and the disabled population. These services will help those individuals to remain in their homes and communities for as long as possible and prevent early institutionalization. MAC centers will open this fall and will be located in Gulfport, Newton, Hattiesburg, Pontotoc, and in Jackson Metropolitan area.
The hearing concluded with seniors expressing concerns regarding topics such as: the State Health and Insurance Program (SHIP); local housing options; the quality of nutritious meals; and MAC Centers. The Area Plan was delivered to the State’s Division of Aging on August 30, 2014 for their review.