HomePorts Reviews Annual Accomplishments

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HomePorts, Inc. held its annual meeting on February 7, with a presentation by Jane E. Hukill, President, summarizing the work during 2016. HomePorts is a membership organization helping older adults to continue living safely and comfortably in their own homes.

According to Hukill, there are now a total of 100 members, nine of whose membership fees are covered by a financial assistance program. Local transportation is the most requested service, with members offered five rides per months from volunteers. Over the past two years there has been a huge increase in requests and in the number of volunteer time donated. In 2016 members made 785 requests, with volunteers providing over 1200 hours of service.

Board 2017

HomePorts 2017 Board members are front row: Courtney Sjostrom, vice-president; Katie Davis, RN; Nancy Cowdrey; Back row: Joe Harding; Bill Cameron, Treasurer; Wayne Benjamin, MD; and Jane E. Hukill, President. Not shown: Jane Heckles, Secretary; Jean Austin; Kristie Hartman; Trish Focht, RN; Jon Hanley; and John Leek.

HomePorts maintains a list of 66 approved providers of paid services (i.e., vendors) in 34 categories of service, including interior and exterior home maintenance, computer trouble-shooting, out-of-town transportation, and pet care. The most common needs are non-medical home care, house cleaning, paid transportation, and handy persons.

Additionally, HomePorts encourages participation in social, educational, and cultural activities and expects to expand education programs that are open and free to the public. It also plans to hold a Health Fair again at the Kent County High School, on October 19, 2017, with extensive exhibits, health screenings, and expert talks.

Other plans for 2017 include working more with local agencies and organizations, increasing the membership, and recruiting more volunteers.

Those eligible for membership include anyone over 55 living in the greater Kent County area. HomePorts is modeled after similar organizations operating successfully in other regions of the country.  Founding members spent two years studying other such “villages”, which are springing up rapidly in many communities and are cited by experts as the wave of the future.  The first one in Boston, known as Beacon Hill Village, has been in operation for over ten years. There are now over twenty in Maryland, with HomePorts being the first on the Eastern Shore.

“If you have a friend or neighbor who could benefit from our services, I encourage you to call me,” says Executive Director Karen Wright. “Or if you don’t need any help now but want to get involved, we have opportunities for one-time projects and a real need for drivers to take members to local medical appointments.”

Information about membership or volunteering is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., by calling 443-480-0940 or go to www.homeports.org. The e-mail address is karen@homeports.org.

Senior Nation: Homeports Real Helping Hand with Karen Wright

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Of all the challenges facing the aging, isolation and lack of personal support can be one of the most difficult. In rural areas like Kent County, with its lack of efficient transportation systems, the issue is compounded. Seniors lacking family or close friends can be cut off from basic necessities like getting to their doctor’s appointments and errand-running to banks, post office, and pharmacies.

Often, seniors living alone don’t know how to go about finding trusted providers for essential services to maintain a safe and

Homeports, a Kent County membership-based service, provides volunteer assistance to help seniors in Kent County meet the needs of “aging in place”.

Founded by local residents and modeled on national “village support” groups, Homeports offers their services to eligible seniors over 55. Eligibility is determined by an on-site evaluation of the individual’s needs. After approval, members have access to volunteer help and service providers vetted by the organization. Services range from home repairs and Health Care at Home to home technology assistance and even pet sitting. Homeport members pay for these services directly after negotiating an hourly fee and the services must meet certain criteria like non-duplication of services already provided by a public agency.

Homeports is a facilitator rather than a direct provider of services.

Full-service memberships are $350 per year and include:

  • Initial evaluation of needs
  • Up to 5 rides per month within Kent County, during normal weekday hours, driven by vetted volunteer drivers
  • Referrals to HomePorts list of approved, thoroughly screened vendors, with discounts from those vendors offering discounts
  • Home Safety Education session
  • Receipt of bi-monthly newsletter
  • Personal invitation to all educational and social programs
  • Peace of mind for the member and family, knowing that help to maintain independence is just a phone call away
  • The satisfaction of helping to sustain a grassroots non-profit community service to help friends and neighbors continue to live independently.

In this video, Executive Director Karen Wright talks to the Spy about Homeports, its services and the challenges of aging in place in rural Kent County.

The video is approximately eight minutes long. For more information about Homeports, see their website here. To find out more about volunteering, email Karen Wright at karen.homeports@gmail.com  or call (443) 480-0940

Kent County Health Fair Set for October

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The annual event to promote community wellness will take place on October 20, 2016, at the Kent County High School.  Normally held in the Spring, HomePorts is this year partnering with Kent County Public Schools and is hold in the event in the Fall, when flu shots can be offered. Major sponsors include the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health System and the Kent County Health Department.

The health fair, which is free and open to the public, will highlight the latest health, wellness and safety information. It is a one-stop opportunity for busy individuals and families of all ages to get health information, free screenings and assessments, and to connect with a variety of community organizations and resources. Local health care professionals and community exhibitors will be on hand to provide their expertise and guidance, with a number of speakers offering valuable information on a variety of common health care concerns.

As a local nonprofit organization serving the aging population in Kent County, HomePorts understands the importance of health care, preventive medicine, and playing an active role in the community.  Kent County strives to be a “community for a lifetime.” The aging population depends on a community that maintains positive health and well-being. Having ready access to preventive health screenings, wellness programs and current information on health issues is critical for all ages.

For more information on exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities or about the event, please call 443-480-0940, email info@homeports.org or visit www.homeports.org.

Homeports Helps Sponsor Free Community Health Fair April 2

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A Community Health Fair will be offered on Thursday, April 2, 2015, from 8 a.m.–1 p.m. at the Kent County Middle School, located at 402 East Campus Avenue, Chestertown. Organized by HomePorts, Inc., in cooperation with University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, the health fair is free and open to community members of all ages, although children must be accompanied by an adult.

There will be over 60 exhibitors offering the most current information about health care, wellness, healthy living and lifestyle choices, assisted living, long-term care, identity theft, safety and emergency preparedness, and community resources available locally. There will also be food exhibitors, including the new Redner’s Market, ACME, Chestertown Natural Foods, and Pamela’s Heavenly Treats. Additionally, free morning refreshments will be provided, compliments of the Galena Lions Club and the Town of Chestertown.

Local healthcare providers and clinicians will have educational information on a variety of healthcare topics including: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, mental health and depression, home care, and women’s health. Also highlighted at the health fair will be services and programs available to help you or a loved one to manage chronic illnesses and diseases.

There will be 10 talks presented by local physicians and experts between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., each to be repeated three times, making it very convenient for health fair attendees to attend and hear multiple talks. The topics, speakers and schedule follows:

9 a.m., 9:30 a.m. & 10 a.m.

  • Diabetes, Dr. Kenneth P. Ligaray
  • Hypertension & Lipid Management, Dr. Juan M. Cordero
  • Mental Health, Patricia Dietz, LCSW-C
  • Degenerative Arthritis, Dr. Edmund J. Maclaughlin
  • Alzheimer’s Disease, Dr. Frederick W. Delboy

10:30 a.m., 11 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.

  • Urinary Incontinence & Overactive Bladder, Dr. Christopher Parry
  • Medication Safety for the Elderly, Ken Peregoy, PharmD
  • Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines, Dr. Gerard O’Connor
  • Medicare 2015 – What You Need to Know, Michelle P. Holzer
  • Sleep Hygiene, Steve Eisemann, BS, RRT

 

Free blood pressure and body mass index (BMI) screenings, and at-risk checklist assessments for diabetes and stroke will be available. Additionally, lab screenings for HDL and total cholesterol will be available from 8 am – 11 am for $5 per test.

The Colgate “Bright Smiles, Bright Futures” mobile dental van will provide free dental screenings and dental care kits for children ages 1-12 years. All children will need to be accompanied by a parent or caregiver, and a signed release form is required for all dental screenings.

Food will be available for purchase during the lunch hours of 11 a.m. through 1 p.m., including the local food truck The Black Burro.

The health fair is fortunate to have the support of many generous sponsors. Joining the top Platinum sponsors, Kent County Government and the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health are 10 Silver sponsors, including: ACME of Chestertown; Heron Point of Chestertown; Kent County News; MDVIP/Dr. Wayne Benjamin; Novo Nordisk USA; Pfizer, Inc.; Price Rentals & Events; Redner’s Markets, Inc.; What’s Up Eastern Shore; and Yerkes Construction. The Bronze sponsors include: Allstate Building Company; Autumn Lake Healthcare at Chestertown; Comfort Keepers; Compass Regional Hospice; Craig’s Drug Store; Fellows, Helfenbein & Newnam; Galena Lions Club; The Hearing Center of Chestertown; Head to Wind Publishing; Heartfields Assisted Living at Easton; Home Instead Senior Care; Kent Athletic & Wellness Center; Kent County Commission on Aging; Living At Home Health Services; Loving Touch Home Care; Maryland Relay; PNC Bank of Chestertown; Town of Chestertown; Upper Shore Aging; and Walgreens.

A limited number of free transportation vouchers are available to and from the event location, but must be reserved 24 hours in advance by calling 800-645-7111 or 410-778-0215.

For more information about the event, or for a schedule of talks, speakers, sponsors or complete listing of exhibitors, check local papers or www.homeports.org. Please call 443-480-0940, email info@homeports.org for more information about HomePorts.

HomePorts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization providing adults in greater Kent County, Maryland, age 55 and above, with a wide range of services they want and need to remain safe and confident living in their own homes. Founded in 2008, HomePorts is among a rapidly-growing number of member-driven “villages” developing around the country. HomePorts is supported by annual membership fees from more than 80 households, donor contributions and small grants. A financial aid program is available for those with limited incomes.

Master Aging Plan Workshop to be Held

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On Thursday, April 2, two seniors from At Home Chesapeake will lead a workshop at the Kent County Middle School, 402 E. Campus Ave., in Chestertown, on developing one’s personal master aging plan. The workshop–entitled “Your Plan for Living the Good Life”– will take place during a Homeports-sponsored Community Health Fair, also at the Middle School that day.

The workshop will be from 9:30 am to 11:30 am and requires pre-registration.  It will be led by Peter J. Engstrom and Maureen Caviaola, founding members of At Home Chesapeake, an organization of seniors in Anne Arundel County.  Engstrom and Caviaola presented the concept of developing a personalized aging plan at last year’s Healthy Aging Symposium.

The thought of planning for the future can be overwhelming. Addressing hard questions is difficult.

 “We can all expect to have ‘bumps in the road’,” according to Engstrom. “We need to be realistic about possible challenges and how to address them. By clearly stating our goals and our priorities, we can make decisions aimed at achieving our dreams of aging in place rather than being a passive reactor to external circumstances.”

Traditional documents such as wills and powers of attorney resolve legal uncertainties associated with aging, but do not address how we would like to live out our life. A master plan is also an invaluable tool for families. The leaders will guide participants in an impartial, supportive setting to carefully think through issues such as:

-Priorities for aging in place
-Short term goals
-A plan of action
-A description of your ideal future and your current situation

Attention will also be given to communicating the plan to those close to us.

Participants can also attend the free community Health Fair being held throughout the school that day from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm. The event offers health screenings, over 60 exhibitors, free refreshments, and ten expert speakers. A complete Health Fair schedule is posted at www.homeports.org and will be published in the Kent County News.

 The workshop is organized by HomePorts, greater Kent County’s non-profit aging-in-place membership organization. HomePorts assists those over 55 in providing access to a wide range of services in order to remain content, safe, and confident living in their own homes. HomePorts resources include a cadre of vetted volunteers to help members and referrals to reliable service providers in the fields of transportation; interior and exterior home maintenance; grocery & household services; personal assistance & trouble shooting; and pet care. It also offers financial assistance for those with limited incomes.

Registration fee is $35, with lunch available for purchase after the workshop. For more information or registration, contact Karen Wright, Executive Director, 443-480-0940, or e-mail info@homeports.org.

 

 

 

HomePorts Hosts Community Health Fair April 2

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HomePorts, Inc., is planning a community health fair on Thursday, April 2, 2015, from 8 a.m.–1 p.m. at the Kent County Middle School in Chestertown. University of Maryland Shore Regional Health has joined the event as the top platinum level sponsor and partner, and is assisting HomePorts’ staff and volunteers with this community-minded health and wellness event.

“We are very excited to have UM Shore Regional Health as our platinum sponsor and partner for our community health fair,” Jim Donaghy, President, HomePorts’ Board of Directors comments. “Shore Regional Health is the largest health care provider in our local area and is focused on being an active player for the improvement of community health.”

The health fair, which is free and open to the public, will highlight over 50 community resources offering the latest health, wellness and safety issues and information. It is a one-stop for busy individuals and families of all ages to get health information, free screenings and assessments, and to connect with a variety of community organizations and resources. Local health care professionals and community exhibitors will be available to provide their expertise and guidance in emergency preparedness, health and nutrition information, as well as everyday positive lifestyle choices.

As a local nonprofit organization serving the aging population in Kent County, HomePorts understands the importance of health care, preventive medicine, and playing an active role in the community. Kent County strives to be a “community for a lifetime.” The aging population depends on a community that maintains positive health and well-being, and having ready access to preventive health screenings, wellness programs and current information on health issues is critical for all ages.

“This outreach event aims to educate members of the community on maintaining and improving their health,” comments Wayne D. Benjamin, MD, chair of the planning committee. “HomePorts, a seniors’ aging-in-place organization, has initiated this event because a healthy community benefits everyone, but seniors especially depend upon a population that is well. Kent County experiences high rates of chronic disease, and education is critical. I encourage residents to come learn about local resources, as well as to show your support for community health and safety needs.”

In conjunction with the health fair, a two-hour interactive and hands-on workshop titled “Your Plan for Living the Good Life” will also be offered, for a fee. Participants will prepare a personalized plan for successful aging, led by invited experts on Master Aging Plans.

For more information on exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities or about the event, please call 443-480-0940, email info@homeports.org or visit www.homeports.org.

HomePorts to Present Discussion About Caregivers’ Guide by Sue Collins, Nancy Robson

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HomePorts to Present, “Okay, Now What?” a discussion of the Caregivers’ Guide by local authors Sue Collins and Nancy Robson

“Are you caring for a loved one whose life has been diagnosed as terminal? Are you interested in learning practical, experience-based advice and tips for care and finding the help that is needed? Do you recognize that this can be an isolating experience for the caregiver and person for whom they care?”

These questions and more will be addressed on Wednesday, October 15 at 10 a.m. in the Chestertown Town Hall, 118 N. Cross Street, 2nd floor, for all HomePorts members and the community at large. The program is free.

In their book, Okay, Now What?, the authors provide a chapter-by-chapter guide of beneficial information with objectivity and humor. Sue Collins has been a nurse for 39 years with 29 of them in hospice care. Nancy Robson, the author of three books, has lost both parents and friends. Both know the painful journey of being with a dying person and the blessings they have had along the way.

Planning and being informed prove to be most helpful. Most people are able to handle a situation if they are well prepared and have accurate information.

Sue Collins and Nancy Robson will present information from their book, have books available for signing and/or sale and are willing to answer your questions.

The presentation is sponsored by HomePorts, Inc., the local non-profit aging-in-place membership organization. It provides access to a wide range of services for adults 55 and older to allow them to remain independent in their own residence. A group of vetted volunteers provide help to members and referrals are given of reliable service providers for transportation, maintenance, grocery and household services, personal assistance and trouble shooting. HomePorts partners with Upper Shore Aging, Washington College and the University of Maryland Medical Center. There are a limited number of subsidies for membership available for those with limited means.

Please contact HomePorts’ Executive Director, Karen Wright at 443-480-0940 or email her at karen@homeports.org if you plan to attend.

HomePorts to Offer Free Talk on Fall Prevention & Balance

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“Are you afraid of falling and not being able to get up without assistance? Do you worry about not being able to assist someone else who falls? Do you know safe procedures for moving or helping someone else move from a bed to a chair?”

Brooke Maier, a physical therapist with 15 years experience and a member of the staff of Chester River Home Care (part of the University of Maryland Medical Center System), will be presenting a program to help with these concerns. She has trained physical therapists, done home evaluations for local rehabilitation centers and worked with planning prior to discharge of patients.

The program will provide information about body mechanics, safe transfers from one place to another, creating a safe environment, as well as things to do to help strengthen oneself and prevent falls.

The presentation will be offered by HomePorts on Wednesday, September 24 at 10:00 a.m. at the Chestertown Town Hall Building at 118 N. Cross Street on the 2nd floor. The program is free for seniors and their families.

HomePorts, Inc. is a local non-profit aging-in-place membership organization providing access to a wide range of services designed to offer adults, age 55 and above, what is needed to remain safe and confident in their own residence. HomePorts offers a group of vetted volunteers to help members and referrals to service providers for transportation, grocery and household services, maintenance interior and exterior and much more. In addition, HomePorts offers social and educational opportunities and partners with Upper Shore Aging, Washington College and the University of Maryland Medical Center. There are some subsidies available for those with limited incomes.

Please contact HomePorts’ Executive Director, Karen Wright at 443-480-0940 or email her at karen@homeports.org if you plan to attend.

Healthy Aging Symposium Registration Open

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The 4th Annual Healthy Aging Symposium is being held April 15, 2014, at the Kent County Middle School in Chestertown from 8 am to 2 pm. Organized by HomePorts in cooperation with the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, the event is sponsored by over 20 local businesses and non-profit organizations.

Walter Ettinger, MD

Walter Ettinger, MD

The opening speaker is Walter Ettinger, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice-President, University of Maryland Medical System. He will speak on “The Health Care Revolution: What Does It Mean for You?” presenting his experience with the changing health care system and the potential effects on seniors.

Participants will also attend workshop sessions led by local practitioners on Hearing Impairment, Osteoporosis, Home Safety and Emergencies, and Preparation of “Master Aging Plans”. Sponsors will offer exhibits and information for those of all ages.

The facility, at 402 E. Campus Ave., is handicap-accessible.

Registration is open until April 8. For more information call 443-480-0940, visit www.homeports.org, or e-mail info@homeports.org.