The River Valley Senior Providers Group is an organization whose mission is to do right by seniors and people with disabilities. Founded in 2009, RVSPG is a coalition of businesses and professionals who provide services to seniors, the disabled and their families.
"It's a group of men and women whose profession in some way touches the senior population or the population of people who have some type of disability," said Robert Beucler, an RVSPG board member and long-term care insurance specialist with Genworth Financial. "That includes any service a senior or disabled person might need and generally wouldn't know how to find."
To this end, the RVSPG publishes an annual directory of local aging- and disability-related organizations. The RVSPG Community Resource Guide, a free publication, covers virtually every type of service available to the senior and disabled demographics.
These services include Alzheimer's and dementia care, hearing aids, chiropractors, companion services, computer training, disability services, elder day care, estate planning, eye care, nutrition, home health care, insurance, medicare, medicaid, mobility equipment, nursing homes, physical therapy, transportation and much more.
Beucler said the Resource Guide was created to address the confusion people often feel about where to turn for information on available resources for seniors and the disabled.
"Sometimes it's hard for people to find the information they're looking for," Beucler said. "What this publication allows us to do is point people in the right direction. People can navigate the services through the booklet. It's basically a Yellow Pages type of publication that has been vetted.
"With all the organizations listed in the booklet, it's like a vote of confidence because - as members of RVSPG - our overall mission is to provide services to seniors and disabled people at a fair price and make sure they're well taken care of," Beucler said. "All the members of the group have been vetted by our board."
Beucler said the Resource Guide is available to pick up at several locations, including doctors' offices and local businesses. "We're constantly trying to find places to leave them," Beucler said. "All the RVSPG members are given three bundles and it's their job to disperse them, whether they leave them at their own place of employment or take them to places where seniors are likely to congregate."
The RVSPG's booklet distribution efforts have been paying off, according to Beucler.
"We know that we're doing a pretty good job with distribution because sometimes we'll go back to some of these places and see that all the copies have been taken," he said. "Or, someone will approach one of us with a booklet that's two years old. It's got a shelf-life as long, if not longer, than a phone book."
According to Beucler, if a person calls any one of the RVSPG members, they won't be turned away.
"I think sometimes somebody might be looking for a service or item that might not be covered in the booklet, but it might be a by-product of what one of our members do," Beucler said. "The idea is to never say 'I don't know.' With 150 members, we have quite a combined knowledge base of the community. So if somebody needs something that isn't particularly covered in the booklet, we'd be able to find it for them."
RVSPG serves the following counties: Clinton, Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union. "We work with four Agency on Aging Offices in those counties," Beucler said. "Through the money we raise internally, through our membership dues, we give back to the community. When we have our annual meeting, the board decides where the money is going to go, whether it's the Alzheimer's Association or the Agency on Aging Offices or another group."
In June 2010, the group presented a total of $2,000 to four local Agency on Aging Offices. Each of the offices was given $500 to assist with their local needs and programming.
"We're a nonprofit organization, so we're not looking to make money," Beucler said. "None of the board members take a salary or a stipend. Anything we make, we give away."
RVSPG was started by its current president, Rich Smith, who has been committed to helping seniors from the start.
"Rich basically dreamed up the whole idea," Beucler said. "It was his idea to get a group of professionals together to make seniors' lives a little bit easier to navigate. He's really touched by seniors getting ripped off by so-called professionals that are just in it to score a paycheck. There isn't anybody like that in our group. Our organization is a way for people to find good honest help for whatever they need."
The RVSPG has grown steadily since its inception. When Beucler joined RVSPG three years ago, the group had 35 to 40 members.
Today, the organization has more than 150. "Anybody who's anybody that works with the senior and disabled populations is gravitating towards our group," Beucler said.
One measure of the organization's success is the overwhelmingly positive response they've received from people who have made use of the Resource Guide and other RVSPG services.
"To my knowledge, we've never heard a negative comment," Beucler said. "The word has gotten back to us from people saying, 'We're so happy that we've been able to find X, Y or Z.' People tell us we're easy to work with. We're just out there to do our job and give back to the community."
For more information about the River Valley Senior Partners Group, visit www.rvspg.org.