1995: First In-Home Care Client
The first order of business after the passage of the aging services levy was to become the primary source of professional expertise, services, and programs for aging well in Delaware County. It started with the creation of our In-Home Care Services, designed to help local seniors age 60 and older remain living safely and independently in their own homes, avoiding premature or unnecessary nursing home placement. These services include adult day care, chore services, counseling services, emergency response systems, home repair modifications, homemaker services, Meals on Wheels, medical transportation, nursing services, personal care, and respite. Licensed social workers provide free in-home assessments and arrange and monitor the provision of quality services to ensure that these services meet the needs of older adults and their families. In 1995, our In-Home Care Services served 49 individuals; by the year 2000, we had enrolled our 1,000th client and in 2012, we proudly served our 5,000th client.
My memory is that it seemed forever before we served our first client. Leading up to 1995 we spent so much time trying to understand local needs, creating a workable plan for a real system of care that would be responsive to older adults and their families, and then building consensus and support for our plan.
Our success was dependent upon the passage of that first levy in November 1994 and when that happened we were chomping at the bit to get started. Our first barrier to overcome was that we didn’t receive our first big levy check until the spring of 1995. We needed that money to pay for office space and to hire a person to help create a solid foundation and structure for carrying out our plan. The next pivotal step was to create real structure, real services and a real system of care. This meant expanding service, developing standards, and identifying quality service providers with whom to contract. It also meant creating policies and procedures, internal processes, and lots of training. We weren’t providing services yet, but this work was essential to our later success.
While it seemed like a long process, looking back on it now I wonder how we got it all done so quickly. By that fall, we were ready to go and we began to serve our first clients. We gradually began promoting our services. By the end of the year we had enrolled and were serving our first 23 clients. By the beginning of 1996 word was getting out and we started the rapid growth that has accelerated through today. As we continue to keep our promises made so long ago, our programs have grown from those early frantic beginnings to meet changing needs and a much larger older population.