Annual Report: AACOG Bexar Area Agency on Aging
About the Bexar Area Agency on Aging (Bexar AAA)
AACOG's Bexar AAA manages Older Americans Act funds in Bexar County for the support of seniors, their family caregivers, and grandparents raising grandchildren. About 300,000 people 60 or older in Bexar County area eligible for services. Since 2008, Bexar AAA has expanded to serve a more diverse population, primarily through its Alamo Service Connection Aging and Disability Resource Center which, in addition to seniors, serves people of all ages with disabilities, veterans, and their family caregivers throughout the AACOG region.
Bexar AAA manages several other special grants, including Lifespan Caregiver Respite ($240,000), Federal Transit Administration New Freedom ($900,000), and FTA Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative ($841,000) grants--all of which focus on promoting independence and wellbeing through collaborative community projects. Bexar AAA is funded by U.S. Health and Human Services to enroll residents of Bexar County in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Bexar AAA has been highly effective developing community collaborations. Among the successful collaborations that Bexar AAA has initiated are: the Military and Veterans Community Council, the No More Falls/Fall Prevention Coalition, the Alamo Area Accessible Transportation Coalition, Call A Ride for Seniors (CARS), and the Bexar County Family Caregiver Coalition.
Services to Family Caregivers through the Lifespan Respite Caregiver Program (LRCP)
Bexar AAA has expanded the number and array of services to more family caregivers through a special competitive grant awarded by DADS, the Lifespan Respite Caregiver Program (LRCP). The expansion also included serving family caregivers of seniors and non-seniors across the lifespan. Services included an array of respite services, a highly regarded hands-on training program, and the development of a caregiver website, www.ACEWings.org.
Services to Veterans and their Families
Bexar AAA created an entry point for Veterans with the Alamo Service Connection (ASC) Aging and Disability Resource Center, which services the community throughout the Alamo Region. Adding Veterans services to ASC eliminates the need and expense of recreating a seperate system for Veterans. Moreover, by joining veteran and civilian services and benefits, ASC staff or "navigators" can present options from an array of both Veteran and civilian services and benefits, which not only results in a more complete solution, but also may result in better distribution of resources. With its regional partnerships and established programs already supporting Veterans, AACOG is positioned to build a fully functioning Veterans Department that can be replicated by other communities.
Military and Veterans Community Council
AACOG, along with the San Antonio Area Foundation, San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, and the San Antonio Coalition for Veterans and Families, have taken the lead to create a Military and Veterans Community Council (MVCC), whose outcome measures are to establish a community-based organization that can help the council implement its goals to 1) coordinate service providers and index services available in the region, and 2) provide a highly visible entry point that will facilitate Veterans and their families easily identifying and accessing all the services available.
Alamo Area Age Well Live Well Program
Bexar AAA was one of five AAAs in Texas to receive a grant to promote lifetime fitness, by building a sustainable community collaborative. Within a few weeks, area hospitals, social service agencies, fitness program, home health providers, insurance companies, and others, worked together to form the Alamo Area Age Well Live Well Program (AWLW). The AWLW grant required a major community launch event, and Siclovia was chosen for the launch. 34 collaborative members operated a Reclovia, where passersby were encouraged to participate in 15-minute exercise sessions and other active pursuits. Those participating in three activities received an AWLW t-shirt. Before the event was over, participants had claimed 1,000 t-shirts. The AWLW collaboration will continue to develop a community-wide response to the need to organize activities, recruit participants, and promote health and wellness in all its aspects.