New program to offer expanded service for seniors

DEL MAR — In an effort to help elderly residents remain independent for as long as possible, Del Mar Community Connections, or DMCC, is launching a new program Jan. 1 that will provide expanded services to seniors who live at home but need additional help.
Called In-Home Connections, the pilot program will offer a proactive set of services that target the in-home senior, DMCC board member Terry Sinnott said during a presentation at the Sept. 13 City Council meeting.
The program will provide household services such as repairs and housecleaning and concierge services that include a personal shopper, friendly visits, trusted referrals to DMCC partners, activity planning, volunteer opportunities, individual transportation to appointments and record keeping.
Unlike other DMCC programs, In-Home Connections will charge participants a nominal fee to help subsidize
the cost of providing those services.
Sinnott said the initial goal is to register 20 seniors. The cost will be $50 a month, or $600 annually. He said family members, especially those living out of state, can purchase the program for elderly relatives who live in Del Mar.
Councilwoman Crystal Crawford said she would welcome such a program for her mother in Louisiana.
“We would gratefully pay $50 a month to have these kinds of services,” she said. “That would be great for my family to know that somebody’s looking out for (my mother), making sure she gets to her doctors’ appointments, planning activities and knowing that she can get there safely and get home.
“This is a great opportunity to have someone looking out after (relatives) and then providing regular reports,” Crawford said.
DMCC is budgeting $48,500 for the program. Less the $12,000 membership fee if 20 people sign up, that includes $41,500 for a member services coordinator, $15,000 for a care manager and $4,000 for expenses such as security clearances, a badge system and marketing.
Most help would be provided by people willing to donate their time, Sinnott said.
“The whole program requires a lot of volunteers,” he said. “We’re hoping this will generate a lot of enthusiasm for people who want to be connected with Del Mar and provide individual service to seniors in their homes.”
In-Home Connections will initially be offered to Del Mar residents but may eventually expand to other seniors in the 92014 ZIP code. DMCC will evaluate the program after 18 to 24 months.
“I think this is an excellent program and it offers a lot of opportunity for volunteer participation,” Councilman Don Mosier said.
“I think it’s a terrific idea,” Mayor Richard Earnest said. “Community Connections has an interesting way of being creative.”
Earnest said the organization frequently asks what more it can do to help seniors, “which means more understanding of those people and the conditions that they have to deal with and how we can respond to that in an elegant and sensitive way.
“I hope a lot of people … want to get involved,” Earnest said.
DMCC is a volunteer-driven organization that, since 1999, has been providing programs and services that allow maturing residents to live safely, vibrantly and independently in their homes rather than moving to a retirement or assisted-living facility.
The organization offers numerous free social, cultural, health and education activities. It also provides alternative transportation options, in-home care management consultations with a licensed social worker, legal and Medicare counseling clinics, computer tutoring, a brain fitness program and weekly health education group discussions with a practicing geriatric physician.
To volunteer or sign up yourself, a relative or a friend, contact DMCC at (858) 792-7565 or email@dmcc.cc.

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