Community Access Unlimited (CAU) has received a $20,000 grant from the Union County Division on Aging Department of Human Services to provide 1,418 hours of certified home services to qualified residents of Union County in 2016. The agency also announced it is looking for candidates to become certified home health aides to increase staffing for its Home Health Services program to meet the demands of this growing program.

Through CAU's Home Health Services program, certified home health aides provide medical and personal care to senior citizens and people with disabilities, as well as respite for their care givers. Services can be provided from a few hours per week to 24/7 and comprise medical care, including behavior management and dementia and Alzheimer's care; personal assistance and chore services; meals and light housekeeping; transitioning care; and companionship and respite.

Services are provided by certified home health aides trained by registered nurses through CAU's Homemaker-Home Health Aide course approved by the New Jersey Board of Nursing, and who complete a competency evaluation by a New Jersey-licensed home health aide services agency and pass federal and state background checks.

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CAU is a statewide Elizabeth-based nonprofit providing support programs and services to adults with disabilities as well as youth served under the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to enable them to live independently in the community, providing supports in areas including housing, vocational skills and life-skills training, education, advocacy and recreation.

"The mission of Community Access Unlimited is to enable people with disabilities and senior citizens to live fully integrated lives within the community," said Carolee Marano, director of development at the agency. "Research shows that when seniors live alone they often develop a sense of isolation that increases their likelihood of depression, dementia, physical health issues and even mortality.

"Home health aides, whether visiting for just a few hours a week or daily, provide company that can stave off that sense of isolation while also provided needed assistance and services. This grant from the Union County Division of Aging Department of Human Services will help CAU bring these benefits to a greater number of senior citizens."

Marano also said CAU's certified home health aide training offers people an excellent opportunity for employment and a career. She noted that home health aides are projected to be the fifth fastest growing occupation in the United States between now and 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"According to the federal government, in a few years 77 Americans will 60 or older and 34 million people will be supporting someone over the age of 60," she said. "The demand for home health aides is only going to continue to grow."

Anyone interested in learning more about CAU's Home Health Services program may call 908.354.3040, extension 272. Anyone interested in learning more about the agency's certified home health aide training may call 908.354.3040, extension 601.

About CAU

Community Access Unlimited (CAU), celebrating its 37th year in 2016, supports people with special needs in achieving real lives in the community. CAU provides support and gives voice to adults and youth who traditionally have little support and no voice in society. CAU helps people with housing, life skills, employment, money management, socialization and civic activities. CAU also supports opportunities for advocacy through training in assertiveness, decision-making and civil rights. CAU currently serves more than 6,000 individuals and families, with the number served growing each year. For more information about CAU and its services, contact us by phone at 908.354.3040, online at www.caunj.org or by mail at 80 West Grand Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07202.