Senior center managers receive intensive training

Posted: Sunday, April 04, 2010

"This was the best Site Managers' Workshop ever," stated a couple of Southeast Senior Services managers.

Courtesy Of Marianne Mills
Courtesy Of Marianne Mills

From March 15 to 19, eleven senior center managers living in Southeast Alaska visited Juneau where they participated in five days of intensive training. Senior center managers from Angoon, Haines, Hoonah, Juneau, Kake, Ketchikan, Klawock, Sitka, Skagway, Wrangell and Yakutat attended.

Day One focused on the most important parts of the Site Manager's job, including the basics of managing the nutrition program and transportation services. As requested by the site managers, in the afternoon they learned some tips on the art of public speaking from special guest Jim Donaghey, Toast Master Extraordinaire. After his presentation, Donaghey gave participants an opportunity to try out the new speaking skills.

Next, Julie Dyar of the Senior Information and Caregiver Resource Center outlined the basics of Medicare, Medicare Part D, the Low Income Subsidy and the Medicare Savings Program for the site managers. Several of the managers will be offering Medicare outreach and enrollment events in their local communities over the next month or two, so Julie helped them prepare and share ideas for encouraging seniors to attend.

Day Two of the workshop covered Record Keeping and Reports required by the various funding sources. The Site Managers were actively engaged in determining the proper way to complete daily meal attendance logs, driver logs, and monthly reports which indicate the total number of meals and rides provided to seniors in that particular community. Other paperwork, including weekly menu and client contribution reports, vehicle maintenance checklists, and report forms for handling client incidents, employee injuries or vehicle accidents, were reviewed. The highlight of the second day was when the Nutrition and Transportation Coordinators role-played different types of seniors being assisted in completing the Participant Registration Form.

The morning of Day Three involved a Roundtable Discussion among the managers of challenges they experience and innovative ideas for resolving problems. Right before lunch, special guests arrived to talk about the importance of the U.S. Census to local communities and how the site managers might help local senior citizens to participate. The organization's Code of Ethics was reviewed in the afternoon, as was an overview of training required by the Division of Senior and Disabilities Services. Near the end of the day, Dr. Betty Monsour from the University of Alaska Anchorage shared information about the physical changes that occur due to the aging process and medication risks that increase with age.

Day Four of the workshop focused on Supervision and how to help employees succeed, led by CCS Human Resources Manager Betsi Farrell. Wrangell Senior Center Manager Sharlene "George" Joseph shared the highlights from the Frontline Leadership Institute which she was able to attend recently, thanks to a scholarship from the Trust Training Cooperative. Agency policies and procedures were reviewed, including how to address concerns of discrimination or harassment, the importance of maintaining client confidentiality, and the requirement to report suspected harm to vulnerable adults. Procedures on handling client complaints and ideas for evaluating service quality were also covered.

The last day of the workshop covered very practical matters such as completing and reviewing employee timesheets, proper purchasing procedures, hiring paperwork and new employee orientation. Staff from Work Safe in Anchorage trained managers on the signs and symptoms of drugs and alcohol. "Protecting Yourself from Blood Borne Pathogens" and "Emergency Preparedness and Response" were also topics covered on Day Five.

Anna Winters, the manager of Sitka's senior center, explains, "What I really enjoyed was the round table discussion, what I got out of it, and hearing what the other managers got out of it. I loved the role playing and how to assist difficult types of seniors. I loved George Joseph's enthusiasm and presentation highlights from the Leadership Institute."

Kathy Wylie, Ketchikan Senior Center Manager, tells, "It was a lot of fun seeing the other site managers and to see everybody in Juneau. There was a lot of good training to help us do our job so we can spend more time doing the fun stuff such as getting out in the community and fund raising for our program and our seniors."

• Marianne Mills is the program director of Southeast Senior Services, which offers home and community based services for older Alaskans throughout the Southeast region. SESS is a part of Catholic Community Service, which assists all persons regardless of their faith.

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