VPAS News

Valley Program for Aging Services Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Special "No Senior Eats50th
Alone" and "March for Meals" Observances

February 9, 2024 -  As part of a year-long 50th Anniversary Campaign, Valley Program for Aging Services (VPAS) will launch “No Senior Eats Alone” and “March for Meals” to highlight their congregate and home delivered meal programs for older adults. 

In February, VPAS will seek to serve at least 50 new older adult residents at a VPAS Café for lunch and socialization. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly a quarter of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially-isolated, putting them at risk for malnutrition, dementia, and other serious medical conditions. “No Senior Eats Alone” is a call-to-action for all community members to improve the quality of life of our elderly population by inviting them to join VPAS cafes.

In March, VPAS will host March for Meals, a month-long recognition of Meal on Wheels and the vulnerable seniors who rely on the home-delivered meal service to remain independent at home. The program not only improves senior nutrition, but also provides vital human contact for homebound older adults.

VPAS encourages the public to participate in the following events: 

  • VPAS Cafes – VPAS will ask local businesses, churches, and organizations to help bring at least 50 older adults into a VPAS café in February. Cafes, which are located throughout our service area, offer a delicious meal, as well as social activities, games, exercise and other programming. Learn more here.
  • Casks for a Cause – On St. Patrick’s Day, Friday, March 15 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., Brothers Craft Brewing in Harrisonburg will host Casks for a Cause in celebration of VPAS’ 50th Anniversary. Attendees will enjoy a special raffle and a custom brew to benefit VPAS Meals on Wheels program. Music will be provided by Dwight Martin and food will be available.
     
  • Community Champions Day – During the week of March 18, local leaders throughout our service are will volunteer their time to deliver meals to homebound older adults, as well as learn how Meals on Wheels delivers critical nutrition and human connection to a rapidly aging population.

For more information about how to participate in No Senior Eats Alone, Casks for a Cause or Community Champions Day,  call 1-800-868-VPAS (8727)

 

VPAS Releases FY 2022-23 Impact Reports

January 19, 2024 - VPAS has made public their Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Impact Reports. These reports summarize the successes and the impact VPAS services have made in the lives of older adults in all of the regions served. In total, 4578 individuals were served in five counties and the cities within: Augusta, Bath, Highland, Rockbridge and Rockingham. The reports can be reviewed here. 

Highlights include:

Opening new VPAS cafes in Weyers Cave, Churchville, Hot Springs and Goshen. 

Implementation of a new Telephone Checking program. 

Launching of the Intergenerational Respite Care Program

 

VPAS Expands Senior Transportation Program to Bath County

November 15, 2023 - VPAS' Senior Transportation is a limited service provided to those 60 and older, who can no longer drive. It is intended to be used as option in conjunction with other transportation means. It provides door to door service to medical appointments, grocery stores, pharmacies and banks with some regional limitations. Most VPAS vans/busses are wheelchair accessible. 

This service has long been provided in all but one of VPAS' service areas. As of November 2023, with the addition of service in Bath County, every region VPAS serves now has some level of service. Senior Transportation in Bath County provides transportation to medical appointments only and they must be within a 75 mile radius of Hot Springs.  

The program in Bath County is a one year trial program at this time, to determine need and sustainability. For more information call Bath/Highland Senior Services Director Harmony Leonard at 540.468.2178 or visit our web page

 

Volunteer VICAP Counselor for VPAS Receives National Honor

October 10, 2023 - Michael Whorley, a volunteer Medicare Insurance Counselor with VPAS, was announced as the recipient of the Bill Spare National Recognition Award at the AAHAM Annual Meeting (American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management) in Los Angeles, CA October 10th 2023.  This honor recognizes excellence in the profession of Healthcare mwAdministrative Management.  

Michael’s long-standing dedication to AAHAM, spanning 30 years, makes him a prime candidate for the Bill Spare Award. He has demonstrated his commitment to excellence and he continues to share his knowledge with the Virginia Chapter of AAHAM and with his community as a Certified Medicare Counselor with the Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP) through VPAS. Michael demonstrates leadership and integrity in every way and is a true role model to AAHAM members as well as VPAS staff and those he serves.

 

Social Security Announces 3.2 Percent Benefit Increase for 2024 

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 71 million Americans will increase 3.2 percent in 2024, the Social Security Administration has announced. On average, Social Security retirement benefits will increase by more than $50 per month starting in January. 

More than 66 million Social Security beneficiaries will see the 3.2 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) beginning in January 2024. Increased payments to approximately 7.5 million people receiving SSI will begin on December 29, 2023. (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits).

“Social Security and SSI benefits will increase in 2024, and this will help millions of people keep up with expenses,” said Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. 

Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $168,600 from $160,200. 

Social Security begins notifying people about their new benefit amount by mail starting in early December. Individuals who have a personal my Social Security account can view their COLA notice online, which is secure, easy, and faster than receiving a letter in the mail. People can set up text or email alerts when there is a new message-- such as their COLA notice--waiting for them in my Social Security

People will need to have a my Social Security account by November 14 to see their COLA notice online. To get started, visit www.ssa.gov/myaccount.

Information about Medicare changes for 2024 will be available at www.medicare.gov. For Social Security beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare, their new 2024 benefit amount will be available in December through the mailed COLA notice and my Social Security's Message Center.  

The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated. The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. To read more, please visit www.ssa.gov/cola.

 

Newly Appointed VPAS Regional Director Wins Public Service Award

Harrisonburg, VA. – Joyce Nussbaum, newly appointed as Director of Senior Services in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County for Valley Program for Aging Services (VPAS), is the 2023 honoree of the James Madison University (JMU) Excellence in Public Service Award, sponsored by JMU’s Master of Public Administration Program.

Nussbaum was nominated by VPAS Executive Director Jeri Schaff for providing a decade of high quality programs to encourage health and wellness for the older adults VPAS serves. These efforts have resulted in hundreds of individuals being educated about and encouraged to adopt healthy habits and have included many subjects, including self-management of chronic conditions, improving physical strength and balance, dementia, family caregiver support, encouraging self-care for caregivers, and education and resources to improve nutrition.

During this time, Nussbaum has been sensitive to the needs of unserved and underserved individuals and communities and worked to meet those needs.

“Joyce would have been considered a star if she had only succeeded in her previous role as Programs Director,” said Schaff. “But the breadth and depth of her impact on the public health of our older neighbors has been extraordinary and worthy of recognition.”

Promoted to Director of Senior Services in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County in April 2023, Nussbaum will now oversee all VPAS services available to older adults and caregivers in the region. These include both in-home and community based programming such as Meals on Wheels, senior transportation, case management, and Medicare consultation.

Nussbaum received her award at JMU’s Public Service Reception, held on April 27 at the Hall of Presidents on the JMU campus. Since 2009, JMU has recognized over forty individuals employed in government or nonprofit organizations across the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia region and beyond for their excellence in public service.

 

VPAS Names New Executive Director

August 7, 2023 Waynesboro, VA. – The Board of Directors of Valley Program for Aging Services (VPAS) has appointed Beth Bland to succeed Jeri Schaff as the organization’s Executive Director. Schaff, after serving VPAS for 19 years, announced her retirement in January 2023 to become effective later this year, after a smooth transition process. During the transition period Bland has worked as Executive Director Designate under Schaff. Bland's role as Executive Director officially began August 7, 2023

Bland joined VPAS in 2012 as director of senior services for Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, overseeing all in-home and community based services for the region. Her position was expanded to include director of development in 2016, with the added responsibilities of overseeing all of the organization’s development, marketing and communication activities. She is passionate about issues related to aging well and strives to keep the community knowledgeable on relevant information through her community outreach activities.

Prior to joining VPAS, Bland held leadership positions at Rockingham Memorial Hospital (now Sentara) and United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.

"Beth brings a wealth of expertise in nonprofit management to her new role at VPAS, a talent for building strong teams and, perhaps most importantly, a passion for creating communities where everyone can age well. As VPAS moves into its 50th year of service in the valley, we are excited to have her at the helm," states Deborah Bundy-Carpenter, VPAS Board Chair. 

“I look forward to working with VPAS staff and partnering with other community organizations to continue to evolve VPAS into an organization that provides meaningful, relevant, and innovative programs that meet the varied needs and interests of older adults and their caregivers,” said Bland.

VPAS empowers adults 60 years and over with the resources and opportunities they need to lead engaged lives. With information and referral services, Medicare counseling, senior transportation, case management, recreational and educational programming, and meal delivery available throughout five counties in the Shenandoah Valley, VPAS has been serving older adults and their families since 1974.

 

VATS Resource Guide Now Available

Virginia Assisted Technology Systems (VATS) is a program designed to be sure Virginians are aware of, and able to access, assistive technologies and equipment they may need to participate in society. VATS has specifically highlighted these products to help older adults live independently and with greater function in their daily lives. 

Click here to access the VATS Resource Guide