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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

ADRC answers your aging-related questions

Aug 23, 2021 02:08PM ● By Melinda Mawdsley
ADRC mesa county staff stand in front of Hilltop Family Resource Center building

Karen Kimberlin has an angel. Her name is Sandra.

Kimberlin, who weighs around 70 pounds, struggled to carry her portable oxygen tank around but didn’t know there was a way to address it. 

Then, she was introduced to Sandra Acevedo, an options counselor with Aging and Disability Resources for Colorado (ADRC), who made arrangements to equip Kimberlin with a much lighter oxygen tank for her smaller size.

“Sandra was an absolute life-saver,” Kimberlin said.

Located at 1129 Colorado Ave. in Grand Junction, ADRC, as the name suggests, is a resource for adults 60 and older who struggle with questions about aging.

“[ADRC should] be your first call in navigating the aging process,” said Christie Higgins, community access manager at ADRC. “It can be confusing.”

The program’s three options counselors and case manager are well-versed in the options and resources available in the community.

With one phone call, seniors can get answers to questions about things such as: long-term support services, low-cost medical/dental services and/or equipment, funding for visual impairment, transportation services for homebound seniors, options to help seniors remain living safely at home, veterans’ specific home care options, and balance issues. ADRC’s staff can help with finding assisted living facilities, enrolling for Medicare or Medicaid and even financial assistance for hearing aids or dental care.

“It’s never too early to start planning, especially with, ‘What do I want for my long-term aging? Is my house one-story or two-story? Do I want to age in place?’ Most do. Do they need to have the facility lined up? Not necessarily,” Higgins added.

It’s not uncommon for children to call on behalf of an aging parent. ADRC also serves caregivers aged 60 and older and those who care for someone aged 60 or older, plus any adult living with a disability. Additionally, ADRC helps with respite programs and courses for caregivers, even providing funding so a primary caregiver can go on a short vacation or take an evening class.

The Respite Program is ADRC’s top service, although it has declined since the COVID pandemic, with many clients not wanting someone coming into their home. However, for those comfortable with having respite care, ADRC can help.

“We have the funding,” Higgins said. “We can work with a (short-term) facility or people coming into homes. It’s flexible.”

The flexible and accommodating nature of ADRC hasn’t been lost on clients.

Kimberlin found ADRC when she was referred to its Supporting Our Seniors (SOS) transportation service. SOS drivers take the 72-year-old to errands and medical appointments, and the service was the springboard to her getting additional support from a counselor.

Anouk Olson, 67, was referred by the Mesa County Health Department. With the help of ADRC, she got answers about Medicare and Medicaid eligibility, and even had a screen door installed at her home at no cost.

“They do all kinds of things,” Olson said. “These are nice people to talk to.”

Making a phone call to a stranger isn’t always the easiest, but it can lead to wonderful results. Call ADRC at 248-2746 to get answers to your age-related questions and to get help in the process. 

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