is to provide effective services and lead collaborative efforts to ensure seniors remain independent with the highest possible quality of life.
is to respectfully assist seniors and their families to navigate the aging process with dignity.
WHO WE ARE
The Adult Resource Alliance of Yellowstone County (formerly the Yellowstone County Council on Aging) has been assisting seniors within Yellowstone County and their families and caregivers since 1975. We provide a comprehensive range of services that promote the overall well-being of younger, healthier and more active seniors and support and assist the older adult population to remain independent and living in their own homes as long as possible.
The Yellowstone County Council on Aging was formed by County resolution. A seven-member council was appointed by the County Commissioners to serve as a coordinating body for senior programs within Yellowstone County.
The Yellowstone County Council on Aging was staffed by a part-time director and seven staff.
Programs were expanded in the areas of nutrition, socialization, transportation and the Minor Home Repair Program was initiated. Home health care was contracted with the City-County Health Department and Senior Helping Hands. The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program transferred to YCCOA from the Human Resources Development Council.
During this time, the City of Billings built the Billings Community Center (BCC) which included a kitchen facility, where meals for the Billings Senior Dinner and Meals on Wheels Programs were prepared. Offices for RSVP and the Meals on Wheels Program were also located here. The YCCOA administrative office moved into BCC in 1983.
YCCOA focused on program and service expansion. Additional meal sites opened, YCCOA took over the operation of the Laurel Transportation Program and assisted with the acquisition of facilities and funding for the Custer, Laurel, and Broadview senior centers.
In November, Yellowstone County voters approved a one-mil levy for senior services, which secured a stable source of funding for aging services.
The Council on Aging moved from the Billings Community Center to 1501 14th Street West.
The Council on Aging was awarded a grant from the Philip Morris Company in partnership with the National Meals on Wheels Foundation to start a Meals on Wheels Program in the Worden area.
The Resource Center was established through a special grant from the Administration on Aging and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Also during this year, the Council on Aging moved to a new location at 1309 16th Street West.
In November, voters approved a second senior mill levy to assist in supporting programs and services for seniors across Yellowstone County.
2007 – 2009
A meal site was established at the Shepherd Feedlot. Two years later a meal site started serving meals in Lockwood at the Harvest Church.
The Council on Aging moved to temporary offices at West Park Plaza. Leased space at 1309 16th Street West was purchased and demolished.
In April, the Council on Aging moved to its forever home at 1505 Avenue D, made possible by a generous bequest left by a long-time supporter Blanche Vavra.
In February, the Council on Aging’s new commercial kitchen at its new location prepared the first meal for the Billings Senior Dinner and Meals on Wheels Programs. A new meal site was established at 1505 Avenue D, replacing the First Presbyterian meal site. A deli menu was started in addition to the traditional Senior Dinner Program’s full course menu. Service hours at the new site were expanded to 11:00 am to 12:30 pm.
After extensive consideration, on December 1, the Yellowstone County Council on Aging became the Adult Resource Alliance of Yellowstone County. A new logo accompanied the name change.
A new fundraising tradition was initiated by providing a Fireworks BBQ at the end of June on the front lawn of 1505 Avenue D. Known as the Yellowstone Council on Aging for 37 years, we announced our new name during the “September Evenings” Fundraiser as the Adult Resources Alliance. The name acknowledges that our goal is to bring people, resources, and organizations together to work for the betterment of the Yellowstone County community. We strive to be known as “the place to start” organization where seniors can find services and answers to their questions.
The management, staff, board members, and thirty community members took part in a strategic planning process to determine the following priorities: 1) to pursue a more diversified funding; 2) to collaborate with other agencies/organizations on key issues; 3) to develop, recognize and reward staff; and 4) to improve marketing and community awareness. The community group decided to work on the following issues: 1) Senior Hunger, 2) Legislation, 3) Pet Respite; 4) Guardianship support and 5) Around the home assistance.
A group of service providers and seniors, the Voices for Seniors Committee, worked tirelessly to get an interim study commission to look at a state-wide guardianship program. With Adult Resource Alliance funding assistance, Big Sky Senior Services took the Billings Guardianship Council under their umbrella in order to provide volunteer guardians in Yellowstone County.
In April, RSVP federal funding was relinquished to establish an autonomous Alliance Volunteer Program (AVP) with the support of board members, CAG members, and staff.
Adult Resource Alliance concentrated on working with more local businesses to bring a stronger awareness of our services to the community. The Development Committee now includes marketing plans in their goals.
Because the growing population of the 65+ demographics is increasing rapidly (6,526 from 2006 to 2016 and projected increase of 10,459 from 2016 to 2026), Adult Resource Alliance will feel the strain of additional seniors. Passage of the Older Americans Act and the senior mill levy in the June primary will help secure funding for the senior programs.
A busy year involved remodeling the basement at Avenue D, creating new policies and procedures for AVP, Privacy information, and Board confidentiality statements. We are established a pilot project called the Care Transition Team funded by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The team was tasked with identifying “super-utilizers” of the ER departments of Billings Clinic and Saint Vincent Hospital. With the assistance of a professional facilitator, the Board and staff reviewed our previous strategic plans for 2017-2020 and determined how to efficiently implement our goals.
After searching several years for a desirable second location in the Billings Heights for our meal site and additional space for community gatherings, we purchased a building at 935 Lake Elmo Drive in July 2018. Construction of Phase 1 ended in January 2019. The Alliance became a landlord to Big Sky Senior Services and Adult Protective Services who occupy the second floor. This additional location gives us more opportunities to service Yellowstone County seniors and the Heights area.
2019 brought unexpected staff changes with the retirement of two ladies who served our organization for more than 35 years each – Joan Kimball (HR and Programs Director) and Bea Ann Melichar (Executive Director). Their leadership and professionalism made Alliance blossom into a well-respected and appreciated organization today. Associated Employers assisted our Personnel Director to guide us in the process of finding a replacement for both positions. We were pleased to welcome and collaborate with Mike Larson, former Regional Director of Adult Protective Services, as our new Executive Director in May 2019.
Alliance programs continue to expand with more senior participation. The addition of an Activities Program that encourages exercise, travel, book clubs, pickleball, and sightseeing has been a successful endeavor.
MONTHLY BOARD AGENDA …
In compliance with Montana Law (Article II, Section 4) Alliance Board meetings are open to the public. Monthly Board Agendas are available for viewing on our website and posted on the second-floor bulletin board at 1505 Avenue D.