Aging and Disability Connections Newsletter
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Director’s MessageRebuilding UnderwayThe past few years have been hard on everyone: the individuals supported by our services; their families and friends; the agencies, staff, volunteers and advocates providing support; and public agency staff at OADS and in sister agencies across state government. Although COVID-19 is not fully behind us, we are now focused on rebuilding our system with an eye to the future. Armed with one-time funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the Office of Aging and Disability Services (OADS) has launched several initiatives to make our array of services more resilient and innovative so they can adapt to a rapidly changing landscape. Many of you have expressed interest in helping and in knowing more about what we’re doing. In this first edition of our newsletter, you can learn about a sampling of work under way and how to locate more information and stay in touch with us. Highlights include:
~Paul Saucier, Director
Rise Model Receives AttentionAn exciting project involving Maine Adult Protective Services (APS) was recently profiled in the journal The Gerontologist. Together with researchers, Maine APS helped to develop the “RISE model” for working with older clients who have experienced abuse, neglect, or exploitation. “RISE” reflects a focus on Repairing harm, Inspiring change, Supporting decisions, and Empowering choice. Started in Aroostook and Cumberland counties and expanded statewide, this model focuses on an older adult clients’ goals and needs, and, if the client wishes, includes support for the harmer and/or the client-harmer relationship. RISE complements existing APS practices and fills an important gap in meeting the needs of older adults experiencing harm. We are grateful to have been able to participate in this project, and we continue to see the benefits of the program to APS clients.
A second article on the project involving the RISE model was published in the Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect. The article discusses the RISE model and the Elder Services Connections program from the perspective of the Adult Protective Services caseworkers who make referrals to the program. The article is based on interviews conducted by researchers with APS caseworkers, and we thank the caseworkers who participated for contributing to this work!
The Elder Service Connections program is also being bolstered by a newly announced Elder Justice Innovation Grant through the Administration on Community Living. Elder Abuse Institute of Maine (EIAME) was awarded the grant over a two-year period in collaboration with Maine APS, as well as New Hampshire APS. The grant will allow EAIME to expand the RISE program to test a substance use intervention model called RISESUP and assist clients who are impacted by substance use in some way.
The Elder Services Connections program (a “wraparound service pilot”) was recommended for continuation in the Elder Justice Roadmap due to the demonstrated success of the program to date.
“Although COVID-19 is not fully behind us, we are now focused on rebuilding our
system with an eye to the future.”
COVID-19 Immunization GrantIn the Fall of 2021, OADS partnered with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to receive funding through the COVID-19 Immunization Grant. This is a three-year federal health equity grant, which aims to improve education and vaccination status for COVID-19 and flu among certain population groups in Maine, such as older and disabled adults, and adults living in rural areas. These are groups that felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic more than others.
OADS has partnered with many local organizations through this grant to better serve the people mentioned above. For example, OADS has helped to perform the following grant-funded activities:
APS CampaignAdult Protective Services recently launched a public service announcement (PSA) campaign on radio stations around the state and on social media to encourage members of the public to be on the lookout for abuse, neglect, and exploitation of incapacitated and dependent adults and to report it. The PSAs will run periodically through the rest of this year. Remember: if an incapacitated or dependent adult in your life is experiencing abuse, neglect, or exploitation, please call 1-800-624-8404 or (207) 287-1234. The phone line is available 24/7 or you can make a report online here.
Governor Mills Launches Cabinet on AgingGovernor Mills signed an Executive Order in June 2022, establishing Maine’s new Cabinet on Aging. The Cabinet on Aging was established to eliminate silos across State government, enhance communication, and accelerate actions and improved coordination to help every person in Maine age safely, affordably, in ways and settings that best serve their needs, including examining new modes of long-term services and supports. . Commissioner Lambrew of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Commissioner Fortman of the Department of Labor are co-chairing the Cabinet, and it is supported by the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future (GOPIF).
According to the Governor’s Order, the Cabinet will meet quarterly, and recently met in October for the second time. During the October meeting, the Cabinet reviewed the results of two listening sessions held on September 19th & 28th, discussed potential avenues for on-going stakeholder engagement, and received an update on the Respite for ME program.
The Cabinet has a website on the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future and plans to continue gathering input on its priorities through the end of this year.
If you have suggestions for cross-departmental issues that should be prioritized by the Cabinet on Aging, you can provide your input via this contact form.
Attention CAREGIVERS!Have you heard about Respite for ME? Respite for ME Grants, funded by the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, will allow caregivers to access respite care as well as other services not currently covered by existing programs. Eligible caregivers may receive up to $2,000 to access needed services. You can learn more at the FAQ found on our website!
Upcoming Behavioral Health and Crisis Services Report Stakeholder MeetingThe Department contracted with the UNH Institute on Disability National Center for START Services to conduct a system evaluation regarding mental health service experiences for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health needs (IDD-MH). At this meeting, the researchers from NCSS will present summaries of data gathered and recommendations for enhancing and improving mental health and crisis services for people with IDD. System stakeholders, including service providers, people receiving these services, family members, advocates, and others are invited to this meeting with OADS and the National Center for START Services (NCSS)* on Monday, December 5, 2022, from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM.
This meeting will be held on Zoom. Please use this link to register to attend:
If you need an accommodation, such as real time transcription and captioning (CART) or American Sign Language (ASL) or other language interpretation, please contact Miranda Whalen at firstname.lastname@example.org by November 28, 2022.
*The Center for START (Systemic, Therapeutic, Assessment, Resources, and Treatment) Services at the Institute on Disability/UCED at the University of New Hampshire is a national initiative that works to strengthen efficiencies and service outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and behavioral health needs in the community.
Attention IDD Service providers!Did you know that the COVID Immunization Grant program will reimburse providers of Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) services for hosting COVID/flu vaccination clinics? Eligible clinics should be focused on serving individuals with IDD, their families, and staff. A reimbursement of $2,000 is available for clinic-related costs, such as provider staff expenses, clinic set-up, advertisement, and clean-up costs. The program will cover costs for two vaccine clinics per year, each being eligible for reimbursement (up to a grand total of $4,000 for two clinics). If you would like to participate in the program or learn more, please email Megan Casey, the OADS Vaccine Outreach Manager, at email@example.com..
Caring For ME CampaignCaring For ME is a multimedia public service campaign that promotes direct care worker jobs as a career choice. The initial marketing work was lead by the Maine Department of Labor (MEDOL), which convened an external advisory panel of expert stakeholders to create a web page with resources. Using Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan (MJRP) funds, MEDOL created a web page explaining career pathways, a job board, training opportunities around the state, and lists of hiring events. The Caring for ME Campaign also collected and produced 12 stories of Home and Community Based Support (HCBS) specialists to give direct care and behavioral health workers a voice about the important work they do. DHHS is excited to build on MEDOLs Caring For ME campaign using one-time American Rescue Plan section 9817 funds to recruit workers into the HCBS field. All campaign efforts will work to promote recruitment and retention efforts and to raise the status of direct care and support work as a profession in long-term services and supports positions (LTSS) throughout the State of Maine. Stay tuned as we begin the next phase of Caring For ME! For information about other workforce initiatives at OADS, see our workforce page
WHAT’S NEW WITH COVID-19?
On August 31, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized new Pfizer and Moderna bivalent vaccines to be administered to those who have already received the earlier primary series and recommended boosters. These new vaccines will “boost” immunity provided by the original monovalent vaccines and broaden immunity to include the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. These 2 subvariants are highly contagious and have been responsible for the ongoing new cases and outbreaks since late Spring.
As we enter fall and the upcoming flu season, it is important for everyone to update and maintain COVID-19 immunity. Here are some important facts to consider:
A Path For ME OrientationPlease join OADS for an "A Path for ME" orientation in December 2022. The focus will be on the start of the "A Path for ME" Lifespan Project and the upcoming start of the needs assessment. The needs assessments will be for Section 21 and 29 members and those on the waitlist.
There will be two sessions. Each will focus on the needs and interests of the following groups:
Waiver Members and Families/Guardians: December 13, 2022 from 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Registration link: https://mainestate.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAod--tqTwvGd3WkthQFwzd-feDOnwe_-W1#/registration
Providers of Section 21 and 29 services: December 15, 2022 from 11:00am to 12:00pm
Registration link: https://mainestate.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0qc-Ghqz4pEteeT9DfhCVElBUlAexV-PvP#/registration
If you need an accommodation, such as real time transcription and captioning (CART) or American Sign Language (ASL) or other language interpretation, please contact Miranda Whalen at firstname.lastname@example.org by November 30, 2022.
Self-Directed Option Now Available to Members Receiving Section 29 Waiver ServicesSelf-directed services are home and community-based services that help individuals across all types of disabilities maintain their independence and determine for themselves what mix of supports and services work best for them. Self-direction provides individuals enrolled under Section 29, with a flexible budget that enables them to hire their own workers. This allows decisions about who is hired, when they will work, how much they get paid, and managing the worker. If an individual wishes to use this option but prefers to have another person manage these responsibilities, they can appoint a representative to act on their behalf.
Self-direction allows you to manage your own services and puts you in the driver's seat. You have choice and control over: