Thanks to a new grant from the county and pledges of support from financial institutions in the region, The Bright Side Family will soon launch a pilot program offering free money-management services to low- and moderate-income Bergen County residents over age 60.
Day-to-day tasks like paying bills, keeping a budget, or simply going to the bank can become a challenge for many aging adults, especially those with vision problems, physical disabilities or mild memory loss.
Before long, a small pile of untended paperwork can grow into a large, unmanageable one - until it reaches the point where payments are missed, late fees pile on, and money woes worsen.
“Our social workers and staff encounter situations like this all the time,” said Elizabeth Davis, executive director of The Bright Side Family. “They’ll be trying to help a client apply for assistance they desperately need, but the client can’t sort through the mound of paperwork to find the documents that would demonstrate their crucial need for programs and services.”
What many older adults need is a “bill-paying assistant” - a trusted and trained volunteer who could physically assist them in opening and reading their mail, writing checks and correspondences, or enrolling in online banking or auto-bill-pay services.
A new grant from the county and pledges of support from financial institutions in the region are enabling The Bright Side Family to soon launch a pilot program offering free money-management services to low- and moderate-income Bergen County residents over age 60.
The Bright Side Family – the parent organization of Age-Friendly Teaneck - received a grant from Bergen County Division of Senior Services to launch the new program to be called “Senior Checks.” In addition to pairing older residents with volunteers to help them manage money tasks, the program’s lead social worker will also help counsel clients on services and benefits for which they might be eligible.
Bright Side will partner with Bergen Volunteers to recruit volunteers for Senior Checks, all of whom will undergo credit and criminal background checks, receive training, and be supervised and monitored by a social worker managing the program.
“For years, our CHEER and CHORE programs have successfully recruited volunteers to grocery shop, make home repairs, and serve as friendly visitors to Bergen’s older residents,” said Nina Bachrach, chief executive officer of Bergen Volunteers. “Senior Checks is a logical extension of our other services, which is why we are excited to be partnering with The Bright Side Family on meeting what is a critical need in our region.”
After the program officially launches later this year, information on how to sign up for services will be disseminated to area senior centers, affordable senior housing providers, care management and social service agencies, home-delivered meals programs, and other organizations that advocate for older adults, including Age-Friendly Teaneck and Bergen County's other age-friendly community initiatives.
Bill-paying assistants will be recruited from volunteer programs such as Bergen Volunteers’ Redefining Retirement Program and RSVP as well as from local corporations that encourage and support employee volunteer services and local universities who have students who wish to volunteer time or use work-study benefits to provide this service and gain experience.
Click here for more information about The Bright Side Family.
Click here for more information about Bergen Volunteers.
Who We Are
Age-Friendly Teaneck formed in 2016 with this mission in mind: A great place to grow up should be a great place to grow old.