By Michelle Durham
ABINGTON, Pa. (CBS) -- A new pilot program aimed at allowing elderly area residents to remain in their homes as long as possible is getting under way.
The program, called "Aging at Home -- a Community Network," is a partnership between the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and the Visiting Nurse Association Community Services, in Abington.
VNA Community Services executive director Richard Cirko explains the wide range of services now available, thanks to the United Way grant:
"Anything from leaf raking and snow removal to geriatric care assessments or health screenings."
JoAnne Nichols knows firsthand what a life saver these services can be. Her mother was VNA's longest standing client until her recent passing.
"I was employed, my husband was employed, but she was living with us," Nichols (below right) notes, "and VNA was always just so dependable."
They would bathe her mother, feeding her during the day and checking on her, so her mother could live at home rather than be forced into institutionalized care.
"For these seniors to age with dignity and grace in their own homes means so much," says Jill Michal, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern NJ.
Pennsylvania has the fourth highest senior population in the US. Current studies show that 89 percent of them would prefer to remain in their homes but gaps in services can make that difficult.
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