Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Secretary Laura Howard announced today that Kansas has received more than $6.7 million in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grants from the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to help communities provide supportive services, meals, caregiver support services, and long-term care ombudsman services for older adults.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law March 27, 2020, provided additional funding to states, territories, and tribes for the various programs authorized by the Older Americans Act (OAA) of 1965. KDADS has received $6,785,425 under this grant program, the third part of a congressional economic stimulus bill, and is distributing the federal dollars to fund supportive services, caregiver support services, long-term care ombudsman services, and nutrition services. The funds for nutrition services are in addition to the more than $2 million provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) KDADS received in March of this year.
“These funds will go directly toward helping agencies that deliver these vital support services in communities across our state support older adults in staying healthy and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Howard said. “We appreciate their tireless efforts and ability to adapt and scale the increased needs of this crisis as they relate to the needs of our seniors and disabled individuals.”
The OAA Title III programs and services reach more than 300,000 Kansans each year, through community-based, in-home, and statewide supports. The need for many of these services has increased as community measures to slow transmission of COVID-19 has closed congregate settings.
The state aging network is using innovative strategies to continue to serve older adults and support communities.
“Many of our local restaurants are struggling to keep their doors open, and we see this as an opportunity to collaborate and begin providing senior meals through an Older Americans Act voucher program with local restaurants in Northwest Kansas,” Northwest Kansas Area Agency on Aging Executive Director Michelle Morgan said. “We see this as a way to provide seniors with needed, nutritious meals while supporting our local businesses during this difficult time.”
Older adults who need assistance can find services and information in their neighborhood or community by calling the Area Agencies on Aging at 855-200-2372 where they will be directed to assist in their area.
The Kansas Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman continues to advocate for civil and human rights, and support and empower consumers by resolving individual complaints while working to improve and enhance the long-term care system for residents and their families. The office serves individuals residing in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, board and care homes, home plus facilities, adult day centers, and residential health care facilities.
“Restrictions on visitation have significantly increased demand for ombudsman services, as families seek assistance in ensuring the well-being of their loved ones. This funding will give the Kansas Ombudsman program the ability to expand its virtual presence to residents and their families, to provide personal protective equipment once in-person visits resume and continue to promote the health, safety welfare, and rights of residents in the context of COVID-19,” Kansas Long-Term Care Ombudsman Barbara Hickert said.
Long-term care residents or their family members with questions or concerns related to COVID-19, or who need help facilitating communication with their family members may contact the Long-term Care Ombudsman at 877-662-8362.
There currently is a need for additional volunteers to deliver meals across the state. If you would like to volunteer and do not fall into any of the high-risk categories for COVID-19, please call 855-200-2372.