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RSVP helping to better lives in Nye County

Nevada Rural Counties Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, better known simply as RSVP, is a non-profit organization that has a daily impact on the lives of Nye County residents and it is always striving to expand its reach.

In the effort to achieve its mission of helping seniors and the disabled stay independent and in their own homes for as long as possible, RSVP is continually trying to raise awareness and funding to support its valuable programs.

Recently, the Nye County Commission gave the organization a boost in both arenas, addressing an agenda item at a March meeting to authorize several thousand dollars in county monies for the program. Not only will the funding go a long way toward keeping RSVP financially strong over the next year, the agenda item also gave the county the chance to publicly highlight the organization and all that it does for Nye County communities.

Local RSVP Field Representative Jan Lindsay said she was thrilled by the commission’s unanimous approval of the funding request. “When I attended the commissioners’ meeting last month and heard the wonderful news that we were granted $14,500, I felt so much gratitude for this,” Lindsay said joyfully. “I was so happy that these community efforts were being recognized, that community members would continue to receive much-needed assistance.”

The numbers

According to RSVP, in 2017 the Nevada Rural Counties program assisted 162 seniors and disabled persons in Nye County avoid the need for institutionalization, allowing those residents to maintain their independence.

“Keeping seniors in their own homes is advantageous for many reasons,” Nevada Rural Counties RSVP Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Susan Haas stated in a letter to the county. “Not only is it the most fiscally prudent way to help them, it’s the right thing to do. Living independently helps to retain the dignity and lifestyle of the individual. RSVP provides a service that honors the elderly, who have given so much to our communities and our nation.” Haas estimated that the county’s donation would represent a return on investment of $20 for every dollar donated.

“RSVP is in its 44th year of service to communities all over America. We, Nevada Rural Counties RSVP, serve Pahrump, Beatty and Amargosa in Southern Nevada, with many more counties served in Northern Nevada,” Lindsay explained of the organization. With a wide gambit of programs available, RSVP is dedicated to assisting seniors and the disabled. The local RSVP offers several individual programs, including those for transportation, respite care and homemaking, all of which are free to RSVP clients.

Lindsay detailed that at present, RSVP has 63 clients in the transportation program, 28 families registered in the respite care program and 16 clients signed up for the homemaker program, with a further 23 on a waiting list.

Programs

Through the transportation program, seniors and the disabled can be picked up at their home, taken to their destination, be it in town or over the hill in Las Vegas, and then returned to their homes once their errands are complete. Under this program, clients can travel for a variety of purposes, including medical appointments, trips to the pharmacy, personal reasons, such as the barber shop, beauty salon or shopping, or any combination thereof.

“Our volunteer will accompany our clients and assist where needed,” Lindsay said. “We have only five drivers right now and need at least five more.”

The respite care program is one aspect of RSVP that many will agree is extremely important and one that Lindsay has always been a big proponent of. Respite provides caregivers with much-needed breaks from their continuous task of caregiving, which can become exhausting and both physically and mentally stressful without any means of relief.

“This wonderful program works to match a volunteer with a family where the caregiver needs to rest, take a break, have lunch with a friend or to manage family business,” Lindsay explained. “This is a life-saving program for caregivers and helps to reduce the chance of a loved one being institutionalized. Our volunteer will stay with a loved one, as a companion and make sure the client is comfortable and safe while the caregiver is away.”

The homemaker portion of RSVP is designed to provide housekeeping for frail homebound seniors, Lindsay said. The program has a high rate of demand but due to budget constraints, as RSVP utilizes paid independent contractors for this work, the waiting list is necessary.

Getting involved

One way residents can lend a hand to RSVP is by donating funding that can help provide additional homemakers for seniors and disabled persons in need of a little help keeping their homes neat and tidy.

Another method for assisting RSVP is becoming a volunteer. Anyone can offer their services as a volunteer but there are certain requirements that must be met.

“All volunteers go through a rigorous background check before being placed in any of our programs for our support systems of transportation, respite for the caregiver and homemaker programs,” Lindsay stated. Volunteers for RSVP’s community service programs, which include volunteering at the local library or senior center, with the Nye County Sheriff’s Auxiliary or for Art Cares, Art 4 Seniors or telephone tree, must undergo background checks as well.

As a field representative for RSVP, Lindsay is the go-to person for residents of Nye who would like to learn more about the organization, become a client or volunteer. Lindsay’s office is on the NyE Communities Coalition Campus at 1020 E. Wilson Road, Suite 38. Her office hours are Tuesdays and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. by appointment only. Lindsay can also be reached at 775-751-5282.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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