Formerly the WVLTCP, we are now WVPEL, Inc.
Funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation

News and Events

Internationally Recognized Leader in Aging Policy to Keynote Aging Summit

For the sixth year in a row, the West Virginia Partnership for Elder Living (WVPEL) will bring a speaker with international and national renown to Charleston on November 6 to address a one-day conference on aging policy. Dr. Robyn Stone (photo right) is the Executive Director of the LeadingAge Center for Applied Research based in Washington, D.C. Dr. Stone is a noted researcher and leading international authority on aging and long-term care policy with expertise in many fields such as caregiving and elder housing. She also served the White House as deputy assistant secretary for disability, aging and long-term care policy and as acting assistant secretary for aging in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Clinton administration. She has written two books on long term care along with numerous articles and commentaries.

“We are honored that she is coming to the Summit and excited to hear what Dr. Stone has to tell us about how other states and countries are addressing issues that arise from the world-wide boom in elder population,” said Phil Schenk, WVPEL Director. “West Virginia has one of the highest populations of elders per capita and it’s growing fast, especially among seniors over the age of 85. WVPEL is working to find new ways to assure that West Virginia elders age with dignity and purpose.”

In addition to Dr. Stone, there will be discussions by Dr. Joy Buck and Dr. Richard Wittberg on palliative care and care coordination through community health care workers in the morning session. Commissioner Robert Roswell  of the Bureau of Senior Services will give an update on the latest plans and programs at the Bureau of Senior Services. Attendees will hold their own discussions on elder policy after hearing from Dr. Stone and the others. In the afternoon, there will be presentations on alternatives in elder housing in West Virginia and across the Appalachian region. Sarah Halstead, Board President for CreateWV will discuss ideas about attracting new energy to West Virginia communities, including elders looking for good places to retire. Finally, the attendees will be briefed on other projects that WVPEL is involved in and asked for ideas on other issues the collaborative group could address.

WVPEL is a collaborative organization which convenes groups of professionals and interested citizens around issues related to aging policy in West Virginia. WVPEL also has a commitment to informing all West Virginians about the implications of and opportunities that the aging population boom affords the state. WVPEL makes such presentations to community groups of all kinds in West Virginia and is glad to schedule more.

The Summit will be held on Friday, November 6 at the University of Charleston. Registration is open to all and includes lunch. Information and registration information can be found at www.wvpel.org.  Mr. Schenk is available at pschenk@wvpel.org.


WVPEL Will Hit the Road to Talk With Civic/Community Clubs and Organizations

Did you know that 10,000 people in America turn 65 every day now that the Baby Boomers are hitting senior status? More importantly, do you think your civic/community club/organization members know? Or that more than 1 in 5 West Virginians will be over 65 in five years? Do your members know how difficult it will be to find services to help their elder parents remain in their homes as they become more frail?

In the time that WVPEL has been working with many other organizations and agencies on aging policy issues, we have come to realize that people in our state need more information about what is happening and what will happen as the population rapidly becomes dominated by those 65 and older. People need to understand how this “senior boom” will affect the economy, government, business, the lives of younger people, housing, and more.

Many of your members have questions and concerns about caregiving for elders who are or will be their responsibility. Young people such as “the Millennials” need to start now preparing for an older age in which savings may be needed more for survival than for retirement living. We all will need to think about how we will deal with a full quarter or more of our people needing assistance, but for whom resources are and will be slim.

Our presentation can be short (15-20 minutes) or more in depth as suits your programming structure and needs. We can gear it to specific issues in which your members have particular interest or something more general. Our mission in this project is to promote awareness of the issues related to elder living in West Virginia now and in the near future and to answer the questions that people have about how this might work.

Feel free to call (304-542-2116) or email (pschenk@wvpel.org) to discuss this idea further.

WV Partnership for Elder Living Incorporates, Forms Board

The West Virginia Partnership for Elder Living (WVPEL) is on its own. The policy study and development organization has been in existence for more than five years as a project of West Virginia Community Voices, Inc. It is funded mainly by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. Recently, WVPEL incorporated as a non-profit in its own right and named its first Board of Directors.

“We have been convening and facilitating groups of professionals around important issues related to services and opportunities for elders in West Virginia for a number of years,” said WVPEL Director Phil Schenk. “We have commissioned studies and even assisted in efforts that resulted in legislative action. It’s all done under our mission: ‘to foster opportunities for elder West Virginians to live with dignity and purpose.’”

The Board of Directors for the new corporation has deep expertise and diversity. Jane Marks, former Executive Director of the state chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association serves as the Chair of the Board. Nancy Cipoletti, who heads up the Bureau of Senior Services Alzheimer’s programs is the Vice Chair. Gaylene Miller, State Director of the AARP-WV organization serves as Secretary. Mary Skeens, Executive Director of the affordable housing group CommunityWorks in WV is Treasurer. Ted Cheatham, Director of the WV Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA); Dr. Shirley Neitch, Chief of Marshall University’s Geriatric Department; and Tom Sims, former head of the Bureau for Public Health’s Health Promotion & Chronic Disease Programs and an AARP volunteer complete the seven member body.

WVPEL is currently engaged in a partnership with AARP and a number of other organizations and individuals that is looking at how the state might prepare for the major increase in elder population. The project is called the Future of Aging and Caregiving Taskforce (FACT).

WVPEL holds an annual one-day conference featuring national and state speakers on new trends and issues in aging policy. This year’s Annual Partner Summit will be held at the University of Charleston on November 6. The keynote speaker will be nationally acclaimed author and Executive Director of the LeadingAge Center for Applied Research, Dr. Robyn Stone.

For more information about WVPEL, please contact us at info@wvpel.org.


Direct Care Worker Training/Certification Program Moves Forward

Since 2012 an ad-hoc group facilitated by WVPEL has been working to improve the training of people who provide in-home services to elders. Direct Care Workers (DCW) are those who help elders who may have problems with some of the basic activities of daily living to stay in their homes. They work without direct on-premises supervision so they need special training in a wide variety of health and home service training. Unfortunately, most of those who do this work do not have comprehensive training, although many have great skills developed over years of experience.

Working with the state Department of Education, the DCW work group developed a comprehensive training program with a total of 100 hours of class and hands-on education. For the past few years it has been taught in Career Technology Centers around the state to high school students. Those who have completed the training have received one of the few state-sanctioned certificates of competency in direct care work in the nation.

Unfortunately, not many of those high school students who have the certificates have actually gone to work in the field. In the meantime, the folks at the Department of Education who have worked with us have become overloaded with the work of putting DCW tests together, sending them out to teachers, and grading them. The need to open the training to adults looking for jobs is evident, but the group hasn’t had the structure to do these things. We need to develop ways to change the curriculum to meet the practical needs of the DCW industry as well as recipients and workers themselves. We need to develop rules for the program that are built from our growing experience with the program.

Now the DCW work group is being re-formed. WVPEL is still facilitating, but the group is taking the lead in finding the right people to work on making this program a permanent part of elder care in West Virginia. We need professionals in the area of home based services, people who receive these services, experienced direct care workers, people who have taught and taken the course, and others with knowledge or interest in the field.

If you or someone you know would like to join this group, please write us at info@wvpel.org. We’ll get back to you and get you on our membership list.


WVPEL Partners with Pendleton Community Care

Working with PCC Geriatric Team to Facilitate New In-Home Patient Monitoring Project

This pilot project, funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, supplements a new in-home health care program instituted by Pendleton Community Care (PCC). PCC is a community health center in Pendleton, home to West Virginia’s oldest (population) county. PCC is a Federally Qualified Health Center which has served the rural county for 32 years. The health center has recently received funding from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for expanded medical services and has begun a project creating the Geriatric Care Team (GCT) which will provide in-home health care to the project’s elder patients assisted by in-home patient monitoring technology. The purpose of the project is to improve health status of homebound geriatric patients, reduce re-hospitalization, reduce emergency medical visits, and reduce costs for patients and payers.

To be eligible for the program patient/clients will be enrolled in the GCT program through PCC. They will be over the age of 70, living by themselves in their own homes, have no adult children nearby, have two or more chronic conditions, and desirably, have access to high-speed internet service. These clients must also be willing to learn how to use the monitoring devices and strive to cooperate on a regular basis in the use of these devices.

WVPEL has been able to connect PCC with a company called Monitored Therapeutics, Inc., based in Ohio that provides the technology that will be utilized in this project, in conjunction with in-home visits by the GCT. Monitored Therapeutics’ new tool, the “Go Home” Patient Health Monitor, with Wi-Fi and cellular capabilities, will be provided for the patients participating in this pilot project. Each patient will also be provided with the appropriate peripheral devices such as blood glucose monitor, spirometer, scale, and/or blood pressure monitor that will relay its readings back to an interface that the PCC Geriatric Care Team will utilize to monitor patient health status and act on that status when necessary. The GCT will be able to discern a problem with the patient’s health status before the patient’s next scheduled appointment by digitally monitoring their chronic condition(s) more often. The Go Home device will also provide the Care Team with the ability to create daily medication or appointment reminders for these participating patients. The GCT will also have the ability to post pictures to the device, which also acts as a digital photo frame – an uplifting addition that we hope will make the device appear even more useful to the patient, helping them to feel less isolated.

We look forward to the success and growth of this project and will release a final report upon the conclusion of the pilot. WVPEL hopes to be able to replicate this model in other parts of the state with community health organizations, including emergency medical providers.
For more information, contact info@wvpel.org.


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