FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA

Local opinion columnists

Advisory Council seeks volunteers

By From page A8 | February 24, 2014

The Advisory Council to the Area Agency on Aging Serving Napa-Solano Counties is seeking committed volunteers to join the council and assist us in our mission to the elderly.

The Area Agency on Aging is chartered in accordance with the provisions of Title III of the Older Americans Act of 1965 and the Older Californians Act of 1980. The Area Agency on Aging is responsible for the partial funding of myriad organizations each serving the elderly, utilizing both federal and other granted funds. The Area Agency on Aging has an operating budget of nearly $4 million per year, with less than 10 percent of that budget going to administrative costs. The remaining 90-plus percent of our budget goes directly to programs benefiting the senior population of Napa and Solano counties.

The mission of the Advisory Council is to serve as a principal advocacy body to the Area Agency on Aging on behalf of senior citizens, adults with disabilities and caregivers served by the programs funded by the Area Agency on Aging. The Advisory Council provides advice to the Area Agency on Aging on important issues affecting the elderly, makes recommendation to the board of directors, works directly with the executive director of the agency and engages in performance monitoring of the organizations and agencies funded by the Area Agency on Aging.

Volunteers are an essential part of our mission in serving the senior population of Napa and Solano counties. This is true both for the Area Agency on Aging and all of the other organizations and agencies we help fund.

In these financially challenging times of sequestration and declining budgets, as politicians in Washington and state capitals throughout the country wage their internecine wars, the real losers, indeed often the real victims of these games of political football, are those seniors who can least afford to lose anything. Unfortunately, those most affected also seem to have the least voice and clout with those making political decisions and must rely on agencies such as the Area Agency on Aging to speak for them.

Volunteers are the great equalizer for much of what our social network is not financially able to provide, for many of those vital services that help sustain and improve the lives of our senior population.

My volunteer work for the Advisory Council has unquestionably given me back far more than I have ever put into it. The opportunity I have been afforded to have even a small level of involvement with the many different organizations and agencies the Area Agency on Aging helps fund brings an important and hopeful perspective to my life. We help ensure seniors get a daily hot meal, either at their home or in a group setting, when many otherwise might get nothing to eat that day.

Our ombudsman program helps many of our seniors to rest easier in their care facilities by improving the quality of their care and giving a voice to their grievances. Often it is the caregiver who needs assistance, so they can best serve that role, and we help fund programs for the many caregivers out there so they can do the best job possible.

Transporting our seniors to doctor’s appointments and to other important appointments is essential to those seniors who have no other way of getting there; we help fund those organizations that perform this vital service. Meals On Wheels, congregate meals, legal assistance, long-term care ombudsman, stopping falls, health promotion and Alzheimer’s and dementia programs are just a few of the programs we work with and help fund.

We need new Advisory Council members to assist us with our mission. The work is relevant, important and an essential part of the social network trying to care for our seniors.

If you would like to volunteer to serve on the Advisory Council to the Area Agency on Aging Serving Napa-Solano Counties, please contact us at 644-6612. We will provide you with an application to join the Advisory Council and give you information on meeting schedule and locale.

Our next new member orientation is Thursday at the Area Agency on Aging office in Vallejo. More information can also be found on our Area Agency on Aging website at www.AAANS.org.

Steve Rozensky is the chairman of the Advisory Council to the Area Agency on Aging Serving Napa-Solano Counties.

Steve Rozensky

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