January 2012 - Challenges & OpportunitiesHappy New Year! Every January brings a sense of anticipation as we look ahead to the new year. 2012 will present at least three known opportunities that PSRC will be actively engaged in: consolidation, the hospital move and the merger of Partners In Caring.
Many of you have asked how consolidation will affect PSRC. Let me first reassure you that we have every intention and expectation of being here in the Suzanne Patterson Building. We are in a unique position because we are an independent non-profit organization contracted with the municipalities to provide senior services. This contract includes use of the building. The governing bodies highly value the services we provide to the community at a bargain (they contribute 25-29% of our budget). This relationship also keeps us somewhat out of the fray. PSRC will be actively involved in the consolidation discussions, advocating for changes that can benefit the organization (we need additional classroom and office space). I encourage you to bring any concerns or rumors to my attention so they can be addressed. I will let you know if we need any lobbying on our behalf!
On a related note, we have entered into discussion and planning with the Borough to replace the (very energy inefficient) windows and to renovate the bathrooms at the Suzanne Patterson Building in the next capital budget year.
There have also been many concerns expressed about the move of the Princeton Medical Center to Plainsboro. This is sure to bring many opportunities for state-of-the-art medical care, and we are very supportive of PHCS’s focus on elder care services and the Acute Care for the Elderly unit. We hope to be working closely with the medical and social service staff and the new Care Transitions staff to make smooth transitions between inpatient and outpatient services and to reduce rehospitalizations.
The chief concern we have at this time is transportation to the new medical center. We are working with the municipalities, Crosstown and Princeton Healthcare to ensure that Crosstown can transport people to the new campus even though it is in a different municipality and county, and to advocate for public transportation as well. We have already negotiated an agreement with Merwick to reimburse rides via Crosstown to that facility (as we have had with Princeton Care Center).
In January 2012, the two United Way funded collaboratives serving seniors and people with disabilities will be merged into one United Aging & Disabilities Partnership serving all of Mercer County and some surrounding communities. PSRC was a founding partner in Partners In Caring, which supports aging in place by providing an array of home-based services, including care coordination, counseling, caregiver support, volunteers, education, emergency preparedness, mobile meals, home modification, respite, nursing and transportation. The merger will add 4 new partners and additional services such as home care. Many of these services are offered at reduced or no cost. This program is designed to support those who have income and assets above Medicaid eligibility but under $50,000, most of whom have worked hard all their lives but do not have the resources to get all the services they need. PSRC will continue to provide care coordination for participants in the greater Princeton area. I will also be co-presenting our model at the national Aging Conference in Washington, DC in April.
There are several other exciting opportunities in the pipeline, as many organizations are seeking to partner with us. We will co-host a lecture at Windrows in January, co-sponsor trips with Springpoint and the Recreation Department, and host a very exciting event featuring three Purpose Prize winners. See details in this and future issues of Mature Princeton. And these are just the ones we know about now!!
There is no doubt that the older adult population is growing, that people want to remain active and engaged, and that when assistance is needed, it is also helpful to have a care coordinator to help. You have made it clear to PSRC that you enjoy doing things with us. We value your participation and suggestions. Thank you also for your financial support which helps us fulfill our vision in challenging economic times when other funding has not increased. On behalf of the board and staff, we are looking forward to an exciting new year with you!
Susan W. Hoskins, LCSW, Executive Director