In August, the Valley Program for Aging Services received a $52,844 grant from the Merck Foundation for health services in eastern Rockingham County, according to Beth Bland, the director of senior services.

The services will be centered in Elkton, McGaheysville, Port Republic and Grottoes and will be called “Aging Well for Life.”

Over the past five months, VPAS has been creating the programs to bring to those residents, according to Bland. Now comes the implementation, she said.

Bland said the funding allows for VPAS to bring services to residents who were not able to access its services before.

Some of the programs and services that are supported by the grant include fall prevention classes and a chronic disease management program, according to Bland.

Other programs under consideration are for planning funerals and healthy cooking, she said.

Another workshop would be for so-called “ambassadors” where people can learn about the array of support services available and so they can be informed to tell others as well.

Bland said she expects the ambassador workshop to be able to teach about 25 or 30 people per session, while the fall prevention workshops are for about 15 people.

“The numbers in this are certainly important, but in the bigger picture, it’s more about us being able to bring these healthy aging educational programs to people that we haven’t really been able to bring before,” she said.

A Merck representative couldn’t be reached for comment.

Contact Ian Munro at 574-6278 or imunro@dnronline.com. Follow Ian on Twitter @iamIanMunro

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