DHR has established resource centers in one-third of the state to assist the elderly and persons with disabilities

July 23, 2007

ATLANTA (GA) – More aging parents of children with developmental disabilities are finding it easier to access services because "one-stop shopping" resource centers are established in one-third of the state. Now, 55 of Georgia’s 159 counties have resource centers to integrate long-term care options for seniors and people of all ages with developmental disabilities into a single coordinated system. The Georgia Department of Human Resources Division of Aging Services now has five centers, which are operated by the Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs). They provide information, referrals, screening, assessment, crisis intervention, short-term case management until people are connected with services, and help with planning to meet people’s needs so they can continue living in their communities. The resource centers help consumers and family caregivers who need either public or private services, regardless of their ability to pay.

In addition to the Atlanta and Augusta centers, there are now sites in the Northeast Georgia AAA in Athens, Southern Crescent AAA in Franklin, and Coastal Georgia AAA in Brunswick. The centers are a part of the Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) pilot project, which is made available through cooperative agreements by the U.S. Administration on Aging and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

"We are excited about what the ADRC has accomplished in helping consumers, family caregivers and people with developmental disabilities who need either public or private services," said Maria Greene, Director of DAS. "Our ‘Gateway’ program was already referring older people to services that help them remain in their homes instead of entering nursing homes prematurely. ADRC and the Aging Network are helping us adapt these services to include all people with developmental disabilities and assist them, their families and caregivers to achieve safe, healthy, independent and self-reliant lives."

Since 2004, the ADRC pilot sites have received 26,525 new contacts from older individuals, caregivers and professionals looking for home and community based services; more than 50% (13,803) of them used ARDC again. Georgia ’s aging population is one of the most significant trends affecting our state today. By 2011, the first baby boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964, will celebrate their 65th birthdays. Georgia’s population aged 60 and older is expected to increase 81.6 percent between 1990 and 2010. Those 85 and older are by far the fastest growing age group; they will increase by 264.9 percent by 2010.

DAS is working with the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases (MHDDAD) to support ARDC staff in MHDDAD Region 1, Cartersville; Region 2, Augusta; and Region 5, Savannah. Last year, the MHDDAD served approximately 16,000 people with developmental disabilities. Over the last couple of years, people with developmental disabilities have benefited from the largest funding increases in Georgia history – moving Georgia’s ranking from 44 to 30 in terms of community-based services, according to the 2007 United Cerebral Palsy Report. Since 2005, $100 million in Medicaid waivers has been given to individuals with disabilities so that they can live successfully in their communities.

In addition, DAS has partnered with the Division of Family and Children Services and the Department of Community Health to develop an online Medicaid form that provides easy access for aged, blind and disabled consumers of Medicaid. This consumer-focused online Medicaid application form is free and accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It stores past applications and data, and processes applications faster. Visit the website and apply at www.GAOnlineApplications.com.

For more information, contact the Division of Aging Services or the Aging Network toll-free at 1-866-55-Aging (1-866-552-4464).

For information, contact
Edna Jackson; 404-657-1386