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.


Social Security Announces 8.7 Percent Benefit Increase for 2023

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase 8.7 percent in 2023, the Social Security Administration has announced.  On average, Social Security benefits will increase by more than $140 per month starting in January.

Read the full press release here 

Access the Social Security fact sheet.


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