TRENTON – Senior citizens and adults with disabilities will now have improved access to a variety of programs.
Residents throughout the state will have access to the Aging and Disability Resource Connection.
The ADRC is a joint initiative between the state Departments of Health and Senior Services and Human Services, with the 21 county agencies on aging working with other state and local government and nonprofit agencies.
The joint effort will provide consumers with better access to community programs such as Meals-on-Wheels, personal care, housekeeping, specialized transportation, assisted living and nursing home care, according to the Department of Health.
ADRCs connect senior citizens and adults with disabilities with work and volunteer opportunities, insurance programs, financial services, health promotion and disease prevention programs, housing, crisis intervention, and other home and community programs.
“The ADRC is a key component of the state’s plan to transform our overall long-term care system to one that encourages community-based services and consumer direction,” DHSS Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd said in a statement. “ADRC gives consumers greater choice and more control over how, when and where needed services are provided.”
Traditionally, services for senior citizens have been administered separately from those for persons with disabilities, even though these groups share many of the same needs and face many of the same barriers to care, DHSS said.
DHS Commissioner Jennifer Velez said in a statement that an ADRC “creates a single point of access in every county for aging residents and individuals with disabilities to get information or referrals, submit applications and receive certain services.”
New Jersey was one of 12 states in 2003 to receive a grant ($798,041) from the federal Department of Health and Human Services to design and test the ADRC initiative in two counties, Atlantic and Warren.
A second round of federal grant funding in 2008 ($400,000) allowed the state to refine its model and work with other counties to roll out the initiative statewide.
Services available at local ADRCs include outreach and educational activities to ensure individuals know about the array of long-term services and supports available to delay or eliminate the need for institutional care.
As part of this effort, New Jersey enhanced its ADRC website – www.adrcnj.org – by adding thousands of national, state and local resources, several new search options, and other tools including Google translation and mapping features.