By Elaine Roberts Musser
It is with great sadness, but with a great deal of satisfaction and pride, that I am announcing the closing of the Triad Task Force.
I want to thank the many people, agencies and organizations that participated, which contributed to the myriad successes over the past nine years of Triad’s existence. The county has now formed the Yolo Healthy Aging Alliance to assist the aging population, which has both advocacy and collaboration arms. It is time to give full support to ensure the success of the alliance.
The following is a summary of the history and many achievements of the Triad Task Force. In 2005, an all-volunteer task force was formed, with members from both the public and private sectors, modeled after Triad, an alliance between the AARP, the National Sheriff’s Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
The Yolo County Triad Task Force was much broader in scope than the national model, addressing any critical, unmet needs of the elderly or disabled. Triad’s mission statement was “to improve the quality of life for seniors and disabled adults in Yolo County, by involving them in efforts to provide: education and shared information; enhanced coordination between local agencies and emergency service providers; and legislative advocacy.”
This mission was realized through the collaborative efforts of multiple county departments, including County Code Enforcement, Planning and Public Works, Sheriff’s Department, Employment and Social Services, Veteran Services and the offices of the Public Guardian and the District Attorney.
These county departments additionally worked with outside agencies serving the elderly and disabled, which included the Davis Senior Center, West Sacramento Community/Senior Center, Woodland Community/Senior Center, Sacramento Area Council of Governments, California Highway Patrol, Elderly Nutrition Program, Linkages, Davis Police Department, AARP, Community Mediation Service, Area 4 Agency on Aging, Adult Day Health Center, Senior Legal Hotline, Home Instead, Yolo Hospice, UC Davis, and local fire departments and clergy.
All programs implemented by Triad were financed through individual fundraising efforts on behalf of a specific project. Donations came from private individuals, foundations or businesses, or community development block grants. Home Safety Services held a successful fundraiser, garnering nearly $40,000 in donations to begin providing minor home modifications to the disabled through the expansion of Rebuilding Together’s services into Yolo County.
Some of the many achievements:
* The California State Association of Counties announced that one of Yolo County’s programs had been selected to receive a Merit Award in the 2007 CSAC Challenge Award program. Yolo County’s entry for its Triad Task Force, the action arm of the Yolo County Commission on Aging and Adult Services, was one of 25 recipients statewide, out of 260 entries, to receive such recognition.
The CSAC Challenge Award program recognized demonstrated leadership, innovation, collaboration, creativity, resourcefulness and effectiveness, as well as the potential for successful elements of a program to be used as a model for other counties.
* A computer listserv was created to facilitate coordination between agencies and those who could potentially assist.
* A donation of five digital cameras was obtained for the Elder ID Registry, which provides identifying information about seniors who may wander to law enforcement.
* A low-income senior living in a remote location was provided with $35,000 worth of major and minor home modifications, a new refrigerator and microwave, and cleanup.
* The Building Bridges program was created to provide legal assistance to prevent elder abuse, partnering with the UCD to promote legislation to protect seniors; Adult Protective Services, which refers difficult non-criminal cases needing legal assistance; and the Elder Protection Unit, if, upon investigation, it appeared that a crime had been committed.
Building Bridges assisted no fewer than 20 seniors in need of legal assistance to prevent elder abuse. At least one case was later referred to the DA’s Office for criminal prosecution.
* Two DVDs were created in partnership with the UCD Computer Lab, describing financial elder abuse, giving tips on prevention. Two hard-copy fliers were created as a resource to go along with the DVD presentations.
Partnering with the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office, 12 forums were conducted in front of audiences of senior citizens at locations throughout the county, in an effort to allow the elderly to learn more about financial abuse and to share their own stories of being scammed and how to prevent re-victimization.
* The Home Safety Services Program was formed to provide minor and major home modifications to the disabled, especially those with low incomes, by partnering with Rebuilding Together, a national nonprofit organization providing installation of wheelchair ramps, grab bars, railings, etc.
Community development block grants and other financial support resources were used to fund major home modifications.
* In partnership with Protection & Advocacy Inc., proposed legislation was under consideration to make changes to the Olmstead Act.
I want to express my deep appreciation for the time and effort given by all those who chose to give of themselves for the betterment of our county’s elderly.
— Elaine Roberts Musser, a Davis attorney, chaired the Triad Task Force.