Meadville Tribune

May 22, 2012

Elderly, disabled and their caregivers have tremendous new local resource

By Keith Gushard

MEADVILLE — The new Crawford County Link isn’t a place, but an information network to help people age 60 and older or those between 18 and 59 with disabilities stay living independently.

Often in the past, residents would have trouble finding out what aid may be available to them, said Donna Stimpson, executive director of Active Aging Inc., the county’s agency on aging.

For the past year, personnel from various public and private social service agencies around the county have been cross-trained about what other agencies do and the services they provide — everything from home health care options to senior housing to behavioral services to job assistance.

Collaboration between agencies had always been there, Stimpson said, but sometimes personnel didn’t necessarily know what was available from other providers.

“It’s the ‘no wrong door’ concept,” Stimpson said. “It’s to get people to the services they need without them falling through the cracks.”

Joyce O’Brien, state director of the Link program, said the idea is to provide better care to people which leads to better health for the people and lower costs of providing it.

“Doesn’t matter where you start,” O’Brien said during a recent visit to the 26th annual Crawford County Senior Fest. “The idea is you ask anyone at an agency and they’ll know the answer or be able to get it.”

There’s no charge for assistance provided by Crawford County Link. It will provide funding options available on any service providers who may charge a fee for service.

n More information: Contact Active Aging, 1034 Park Ave., Meadville, at 336-1792 or toll-free at (800) 321-7705, or visit

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at

Crawford County Link to Aging and Disability Resources can provide information and support for persons over age 60 and for persons 18 to 59 with disabilities on the following topics:

Assistive technology

Community support services

Drug and alcohol

Emergency contacts

Employment services

Financial assistance

Health and nutrition

Health insurance

Home modifications

Housing assistance

In-home services

Legal aid

Long-term care

Medical Equipment and supplies

Medical services

Mental health services and support

Nursing home transition

Options counseling

Protective services

Support groups


Utilities and fuel

Veterans services