Our Stories

  1. Sometimes All It Takes is a Helping Hand 
  2. Putting the Shoe on the Other Foot – A Lesson in Aging
  3. Caregivers Need Help, Too

A Little Bit Goes A Long Way

A stroke.  An older home not equipped for someone elderly with medical issues.  Limited income.

Mrs. B. had all of the above facing her.  She also had a strong desire to maintain her independence, and that, along with an innovative new program from Seniors Count, made all the difference.

Mrs. B. wasn’t the type of lady to take no for an answer. As a proud 86-year-old, Mrs. B didn’t want to remain in a nursing home any longer than she had to after suffering a stroke. There was only one problem however – her home would need much modification in order for her to experience the independence she had previously enjoyed.

Mrs. B. convinced the social worker at the nursing home to help her apply for Home and Community Based Care Services, a program that allows disadvantaged citizens with significant medical needs to utilize Medicaid funding to live in the community.

After gaining approval for the program, Mrs. B. began to detail all of the renovations that would need to be made in order for her to return home. Her home wasn’t wheelchair accessible, her bedroom needed to be relocated to the first floor, her bathroom needed renovations and a ramp was needed to enable access in and out of the house.  It was going to cost a lot of money.

Mrs. B. and her family secured the funding for much of the renovations, but couldn’t cover the quote for the ramp. Enter Seniors Count Flexible Spending Initiative and the Southern NH Services Fix It Program. The Fix It Program leveraged Seniors Count Flex Funds to purchase the ramp building materials and then coordinated volunteer labor for building and installing it. New Hampshire State Prison inmates ultimately built the ramp and Fix It volunteers handled transportation and installation.

A situation that once seemed very unlikely if not impossible, Mrs. B. returning home, was now a reality and a proud senior regained what she thought she had lost – living in her own home.  While Mrs. B. has since passed away, she was able to remain at home until she died.

The Seniors Count Flexible Spending Initiative is a wonderful resource that comes into play when no other funds available for an item or service needed by frail seniors.  The Mary Gale Foundation funds part of the initiative through a grant that helps indigent women.  The Seniors Count Resource Committee raises funds to address the senior men who need help.

In the spirit of collaboration and meeting the needs where they exist, Seniors Count shares the funding resource with other community partners to address the unmet, non-funded needs of frail seniors living in our community.  By sharing access to funds with community partners, Seniors Count makes it possible for frail seniors who touch any of 22 agencies to immediately get the necessary goods or services they need that are not funded.  While this presented some challenges to the internal processes of many agencies involved, partners overcame the obstacles, demonstrating that systems can and do change to meet the need, and resources can be leveraged to have the most impact.  In fact, when Mrs. B. passed away, Seniors Count took the ramp that had been made for her and rebuilt it for another frail senior.  

The Flexible Spending Initiative’s core partners with a purpose include:  Bureau of Elder and Adult Services, Catholic Medical Center, Child and Family Services, Crotched Mountain Community Care, Inc., Easter Seals New Hampshire, Elliot Health System, Elliot Senior Health Center, NH Catholic Charities, Familystrength/Elderstrength, Heritage Case Management, Life Coping, Inc., Manchester Housing Authority, Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester, Moore Center Services, Inc., Quality Care Partners, St Joseph’s Community Services, Seniors Count, Southern New Hampshire Services, Stewart Property Management, Varney School Apartments and VNA Personal Services.