Business on the Radio with Senior Connections and Business Radio X

Recently I had a chance to appear of Business Radio X show "Silver Linings in the Cloud" with my co-worker to speak about Senior Connections, senior hunger, and how non-profits are achieving sustainability through new business ventures.

The mission of Senior Connections is to provide essential home and community-based services that maximize independence. The organization serves more than 4,000 people each year with services provided by skilled professionals and community volunteers. While those with the financial means to do so pay the full cost of services, there are public funds, United Way grants, and private donations that help subsidize the cost of services to those in need. Senior Connections never denies service due to a lack of ability to pay.

As Congress debates the future of the Older Americans Act, senior service organizations like Senior Connections are looking at ways to continue to meet the needs of Atlanta's older adult population while also becoming financially sustainable. By 2020 as many as 1 in 5 Atlantans will be older than 60. Across the state of Georgia, more than 20,000 seniors are on waiting list for vital programs like Meals on Wheels or In-Home Care. The recession and sequester decimated Meals on Wheels programs, which are only just starting to recover. One study showed that Meals on Wheels saves $50 in Medicaid costs for every $1 invested. Another study by Brown University showed the Meals on Wheels reduced nursing home admissions. Finally, Meals on Wheels of America and AARP commissioned a study that demonstrates MOW recipients are more vulnerable, daily meal recipients improve health and quality of life and "those who lived alone and received daily-delivered meals were more likely to report decreases in worry about being able to remain in home and improvements in feelings of isolation and loneliness over the study period, compared to the other two groups."

Senior Connections' 400+ volunteers and 100+ staff have always been aware, anecdotally, of the impact of the program. Now the focus is on marketing the value of the non-profit organization to seniors and caregivers who are in the market for home and community-based services.

Across four key programs: Meals on Wheels, In-Home Care, Emergency Home Repair and management of senior centers for DeKalb County, there are opportunities to generate additional revenue to support their comprehensive no-fee services for low-income seniors. Senior Connections' In-home care services compete with for-profit providers across the state. In-house RNs and LPNs reduce compliance costs and improve customer service. CNAs can provide respite, homemaker, and personal care services in Cobb, Gwinnett, DeKalb and Fulton Counties for $18/hr.

To improve cost-effectiveness Senior Connections invested in a new in-home care system for their mobile CNA workforce to reduce costs and improve client satisfaction. It will also improve billing and communication between caregivers, staff, and clients.

The organization is also putting a new spin on Meals on Wheels. With a 5,000 sq/ft kitchen, Senior Connections launched Connections Catering to provide local business, government, non-profit and religious organizations an alternative to "corporate" catering while giving back to the community. All proceeds from Connections Catering benefit Senior Connections' other key programs. Sharing staff and maximizing staff time, as well as utilizing volunteers where possible helps keep overhead low while maximizing service and productivity.

Connections Catering is also the moniker for private pay home delivered meals . For $6 you receive a preservative free, nutritionally balanced meal delivered hot to your doorstep. Frozen meal packages are also available. Meals meet all Federal, State and Local Guidelines for senior nutrition and contain 1/3 the Daily Recommended Intake of calories and nutrients.

Check out the full interview at

For more information on Senior Connections or to order meals or in-home care visit

Grant Yarbrough