The Senior Health and Resource Partnership (SHARP) Project is a local program in Onondaga County designed to assist adults, 55 years of age and older, with counseling and community-based services that promote physical and emotional well-being. The goal of the SHARP Project is to provide appropriate supports and services that will enable older adults to remain safely in their homes and participate in family and community life. The Project helps with: person-centered care management, mental health and substance use assessments and counseling, aging services (MOW, home care, transportation, housing assistance and more), aurora sensory loss services (assistive equipment, peer support), home visits, and falls prevention. The project has been making an impact in Onondaga County, reaching individuals who otherwise may not have received services, and they continuously have had the highest number of annual enrollments since 2020 in New York State.
There has been a strong impact on the community including a significant reduction in PHQ-9 scores, an increased use of adaptive equipment, an increase in the destigmatization of mental health services among seniors, and the development of stronger partnership bonds between agencies, better allowing a multitude of issues to be addressed. This Project has also reached individuals that may not have otherwise received services without SHARP. By serving the population ages 55-59, they offer needed services to an age group that that typically would not be age eligible. Through this work, the team has learned that there are many more older adults in their community who struggle with mental health and sensory loss who, without this program, would have slipped through the cracks and gone without the counseling and equipment needed to facilitate that counseling. This partnership enabled seniors who may have put their physical and mental health on the back burner due to financial constraints, to access the services they so badly needed to remain healthy and independent.
One of the memorable success stories involved an 80-year-old male who was living alone, and due to him contracting COVID-19, he suffered many health-related issues. A visiting nurse was assigned to this man, but due to him losing his hearing as a result of COVID, he was unable to communicate his needs. After doing a thorough assessment, his worker was able to train him on an assistive listening device which enabled him to hear spoken word and respond appropriately. This man began to tear up as he stated, “I can hear my own voice again.” Also, through this partnership, SHARP was able to provide an amplified telephone so he could communicate with his many health care providers.
The SHARP Project is a partnership between Onondaga County Department of Adult & Long Term Care Services, AURORA of Central NY, Inc., Liberty Resources and Helio Health. The New York State Office of Mental Health Partnership Innovation For Older Adults grant that funded the project ended on December 31, 2021, but SHARP is continuing its mission into 2022 and beyond. For more information, contact 315-435-5600 Ext. 5648 and visit http://www.ongov.net/adult/.