SourcePoint conducts survey to gauge needs of future Delaware County senior citizens

·5 min read
SourcePoint members (from left) Ted Breece, Karen Hinkle, Ellie Milligan and Paul Howard perform with the band Summertime for a Friday lunch crowd at the SourcePoint facility, 800 Cheshire Road in Delaware, on Jan. 14.
SourcePoint members (from left) Ted Breece, Karen Hinkle, Ellie Milligan and Paul Howard perform with the band Summertime for a Friday lunch crowd at the SourcePoint facility, 800 Cheshire Road in Delaware, on Jan. 14.

SourcePoint, which conducts programs for Delaware County residents ages 55 and older, wants to hear from people who aren't yet 55.

The senior-services agency headquartered at 800 Cheshire Road in Delaware is conducting an online survey through Jan. 31 at mysourcepoint.org/survey.

The survey is designed to identify "'the needs of the older adults and how they've changed, or how they expect to change, and to make sure we're keeping up with the growth and any of the changes that might impact the services and programs and work we do at SourcePoint," said executive director Fara Waugh.

To that end, SourcePoint wants to hear from those over age 55 and those who will turn 55 in the near future, she said.

"We're talking to younger people now to know what their needs might be when they reach that age," Waugh said.

In 2018, county voters approved a SourcePoint five-year 1.2-mill renewal levy with a 0.1-mill increase. This year is the fourth year of that levy.

Waugh said SourcePoint wants to identify current and future needs in anticipation of a levy renewal and conducted a similar effort before the 2018 renewal was approved.

"We're reaching to younger people because in the next levy cycle, they will turn 55," she said.

SourcePoint provides a range of services, including in-home care, support for caregivers of those over age 55, care consultants who assess client needs and coordinate services, volunteer transportation services and Meals on Wheels food delivery. It also offers a variety of activities and programs at its facility.

"The community survey (will be) in conjunction with information gathered from focus groups, individual interviews conducted with internal and external stakeholders and some information that we gathered through surveying our membership – those individuals who come and take part, as well as volunteers. All of that information will help us to determine some of the needs over the course of the next five years," Waugh said.

Survey results will be significant, Waugh said, because the agency is anticipating growth in the number of people it serves.

“We have seen an increase over the last few years in enrollment and overall requests for services," she said.

In 2017, about 1,700 seniors were enrolled in SourcePoint's in-home care program, a number that reached 1,917 in 2021, she said.

SourcePoint anticipates the older-population growth will continue over the next five to 10 years, she said.

Interviews with SourcePoint's stakeholders also have identified rising costs – for in-home care in particular – and a workforce shortage that SourcePoint likely will face in the coming years, Waugh said.

SourcePoint makes continuing efforts to improve services, she said.

"One thing we're particularly proud of is the expansion of the type of caregiving programming that we offer," she said, adding that each year, SourcePoint assists at least 400 caregivers.

That effort includes monthly support groups and regular workshops, Waugh said.

"We've recently added grief programs to our schedule, knowing that caregivers who experience a loss benefit from coming together as a group and meeting regularly with each other," she said.

SourcePoint has a South Office at 1070 Polaris Parkway, which, Waugh said, houses several in-home care consultants and has meeting space for caregiving programming, insurance counseling and some fitness activities.

That site was launched because the majority of the county's population and older adults are in the southern part of the county, she said.

SourcePoint also conducts programming at local libraries, wellness centers, churches and community centers, Waugh said.

SourcePoint had been planning to expand its online activities in 2021, but the arrival of the pandemic saw that effort expand a year early in 2020, she said.

SourcePoint held nearly 600 programs on Zoom that year that were very successful, she said.

Online programs continue to be important during the current COVID-19 Omicron surge, she said. That online effort also is likely to become permanent, particularly in winter, when some people are reluctant to drive, she said.

SourcePoint board president Gretchen Roberts said the survey is "folks telling us what they want.”

“But that survey in hand – with the needs assessments that we do in the communities we serve every year – will really help us build the SourcePoint of the future and evolve SourcePoint from the really great resource it is today to an even more spectacular resource in the future,” she said. “As our population is living longer and the mission to SourcePoint is to keep people in their homes longer, we're going to use in-home services to do that."

Holly Novak, branch manager of Interim HealthCare, a SourcePoint community partner and a provider of home health and health-care staffing services based in Delaware and Marysville, said nothing could have prepared the community for the impact of COVID-19 and the desire of individuals and families to continue living safely in their own homes.

"The good news is that SourcePoint has a foundation to deliver vital services in a time when many community services were on hold," Novak said. "SourcePoint works hard to adequately assess and respond to the needs of seniors in Delaware County. The proactive and well-planned approach is evident. In fact, it’s not at all unexpected to find that SourcePoint is setting the standard for exceptional services at even a national level.

"While I share hope that the challenges of COVID will soon be behind us, I suspect that our community will find renewed urgency to assure that vital services are available to support seniors at home. We’ve learned a lot about what is important to seniors and what makes a difference in their safety and sense of community. What we’ve learned and will continue to learn through tools such as the community survey will serve as a guide toward plans for the future.

"SourcePoint has a sound track record. I encourage those that know a senior, consider themselves to be a senior or will one day be a senior to take time to complete the survey. Armed with the knowledge of the needs of the community, SourcePoint will be best positioned for the continued positive impact for years to come."

The survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete, and responses are anonymous and compiled by a third-party consultant, said Alison Yeager, SourcePoint director of communications.

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This article originally appeared on ThisWeek: Senior services: SourcePoint conducts survey to gauge future needs

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