Monroe, LA – Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) and the Governor’s Office of Elderly Affairs (GOEA) have signed a memorandum of understanding to increase access to quality and competent care for senior citizens 60 and older who seek mental health, addictive disorder, prevention and wellness, developmental disability, and food insecurity services in the 12 parishes of Northeast Louisiana.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 850,000 Louisianans are over the age of 60, about 19 percent of the total state population, and NEDHSA Executive Director Dr. Monteic A. Sizer said this is an excellent opportunity for not only the region but the state as a whole to begin “leveraging existing activities, initiatives, and programs to support this population.”
“When we launched our Operation Golden Years initiative several years ago, we knew we would need to strategically create partnerships to ensure the steps we take uplift and create a better life for our seniors,” Dr. Sizer said. “Our seniors are facing many challenges that lead them to behavioral and primary health issues, and through this partnership, shows our agency’s awareness and desire to take action to bring seniors hope, reduce loneliness, and increase resources to improve their overall health overcomes.”
The GOEA serves as a focal point for Louisiana’s senior citizens and administers a broad range of home and community-based services through a network of Area Agencies on Aging.
As stated in the memorandum of understanding, NEDHSA will accept appropriate referrals to provide services for those with major mental disorders and/or substance use disorders, and the GOEA will accept appropriate referrals to provide home and community-based services through a network of Area Agencies on Aging, which is not services provided by NEDHSA.
In 2018, NEDHSA launched its Operation Golden Years initiative after recognizing that the elderly population in Northeast Louisiana is often forgotten when it comes to critical efforts involving prescription medications, addictions, mental health challenges, and physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities.
NEDHSA currently offers seniors education and information about prescription medicines, its Department of Prevention and Wellness facilitates community forums educating seniors about the proper use and disposal of medicine, provides clinical services to many people over 60, and each April and October, the agency partners with other organizations in the region to provide prescription take-back boxes as a part of the National Prescription Take Back Day. NEDHSA also has a memorandum of understanding with the University of Louisiana Monroe College of Business and Social Sciences to increase resources and research for northeastern Louisiana’s senior population.
Sizer added: “Although no single program or agency has all the answers, we must work hard to remove governmental silos and those programmatic inefficiencies that produce and reinforce structural barriers that limit comprehensive care for those we serve regionally. Our integrated model was established to help leverage community resources, mitigate negative social determinants of health, and improve overall regional population health.”
For more information on NEDHSA’s Operation Golden Years or the partnership with GOEA, please contact NEDHSA Special Initiatives Manager Julia Albritton by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org