BREEZEWOOD — The Huntingdon-Bedford-Fulton Area Agency on Aging is seeing a backlog in in-home service requests due in part to a shortage of direct care workers.
The agency’s board of directors discussed its waiting list during its quarterly monthly meeting Monday at the Holiday Inn Express in Breezewood.
Sherry Kovach, financial advisor, said the agency was $35,000 under its budget for in-home services for the first four months of the current fiscal year due to a lack of available providers.
“This is not a matter of not having the money, it’s a matter of the implementing between our staff and the providers,” she said. “What we’re seeing — and this is not just (local), it’s across the state — is a real provider issue.”
Connie Brode, executive director of the agency, said 117 individuals were on a waiting list for in-home services, including 37 from Bedford County.
Kovach said the agency and providers are actively seeking to connect individuals to services as quickly as possible, adding that the shortage has been an ongoing issue for some time.
“We’re hitting a wall,” she said. “The providers can’t handle the case load.”
The agency works with about 10 in-home service providers across the three counties.
In separate action, the board discussed efforts by senior centers in the region to better connect with adults in their early 60s.
Brode said centers are introducing activities to better target those age groups, including exercise and art classes and day trips.
“Those people are saying, ‘I’m not old,’” Brode said. “So what brings them out — something that sounds exciting and is active.”
Bedford County Commissioner Paul Crooks said more than 300 people participated in the county’s “Young at Heart Games” this year, but said most would not be regulars at their senior centers through the year.
“I’d like to think those 300 seniors would continue to visit the senior centers, but they seem to drop out,” he said.
Brode said one of the centers in Bedford County has considered renaming itself in an effort to better market itself to the community, but did not specify the center.
Mick Gordon, director of the Bedford Area Senior Center, said in an interview after the meeting that his center has tossed around the idea of a name change and the proposal may be discussed by the center’s board this spring.
Gordon, who was not at the agency meeting, agreed the center is attempting to better reach seniors in the community and keep the center “up to date with what’s going on today.”
“We have so much to offer here,” he said. “We’re trying to open up to make the community even more aware of who we are and what we do.”
Gordon said the center’s exercise and art classes have been growing in popularity, and said the center’s activities are great for all adults over 60.
Gordon estimated about 40 people visit the center in Bedford on an average day, but said larger activities can draw far more participants.
Bedford County also has senior centers in Everett, Hopewell Hyndman and Saxton.