People on the Move – Partners In Care Expands to Accommodate Growing Programs

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(Severna Park, MD.)

For five years, Partners In Care (PIC) has operated out of a small storefront at 348 Ritchie Highway in Severna Park. The organization’s adjacent upscale, resale Boutique occupies two storefronts in the same strip shopping center. On July 30th both businesses are expanding together to 6 S. Ritchie Highway in Pasadena.

Partners In Care is a community nonprofit organization helping older and disabled adults remain independent in their own homes. The business is expanding to accommodate the growing number of people needing their services and the greater number of programs being managed to meet those needs.

“In the last year alone, we’ve added 400 new members to our programs,” says Barbara Huston, PIC president. “We are bursting at the seams. We have utilized every inch of this space to the maximum possible and more.”

PIC is moving into a leased building at the corner of Ritchie Highway and East-West Boulevard. The former Active Day adult day care center facility is being renovated with community support.

“We are excited about the new site which has 6,500 square feet on one level with plenty of parking. We can keep the office and store together. The Upscale, Resale Boutique literally supports about a third of our budget. It’s critical from that standpoint, but it has an important social component too. It’s a community center in its own right,” said Maureen Cavaiola, co-founder and Boutique chair.

The Partners In Care Boutique is an unusual enterprise because it employs 70 plus people on very flexible schedules who are mostly in their 70s and 80s. The store provides interesting volunteer work opportunities and a way for people to give back to the community by making donations of quality items to sell. In addition, every volunteer worker earns “time in the bank” for their effort so that when they need help with any transportation needs or handyman repairs, they’ve earned it. Volunteers doing any job for PIC earn hours similarly and can exchange them with others in a well-choreographed program of give and take.

PIC is known to be innovative, operating a service-exchange or time-banking program as its basis. People are engaged to help each other using whatever skills and talents they are willing to contribute. It’s a shift in the way people are viewed. “We trying to change the model from ‘charity to parity’ for older adults,” says Ms. Huston.

In Partners In Care style, the process of modifying the building, involves many partners. “Businesses and individuals are contributing.” said Mike Helta, handyman coordinator. “It’s a real community project.”
Chuck Converse of Converse Construction arranged for the permits, dumpsters, and drywall installers, for example. Sherwin Williams donated 25 gallons of paint. Rich Nock from Floors by Design installed the flooring. The list goes on and on. Volunteer members of Partners In Care are spackling, painting, cleaning, building shelves and moving merchandise.

Mr. Helta is thankful for informal and expert help. “The HVAC and plumbing contractors, Chiltrol and Mahon Plumbing, did the original work on the building six years ago. To have them both back helping us now is huge. They know what needs to be done.”

The Boutique is selling everything for 50% off in preparation for the move; even so, a lot of merchandise has to be transported. It’s a bee hive of activity on a tight time-table.

Both the office and the store will be open for business on August 1st at 6 S. Ritchie Highway, Pasadena.

Ms. Cavaiola welcomes customers, “The new store will be big and bright. We can accept more donations and sell more merchandise and small pieces of furniture and engage more people in our programs.”

The program side of Partners In Care includes eight full time employees and a small army of drivers, repairmen and women, match-makers, fundraisers, and more. Programs include transportation, handyman repairs, emergency kits, warm houses, and HealthWatch — all programs designed to support the dignity and independence of older adults.

PIC is at the forefront of the trend to provide home and community based services for older and disabled adults.
“First and foremost, people need to be engaged in their communities,” said Ms. Huston. “Socialization is really important. Transportation is important. If someone gives up driving they still need to go the doctor and the grocery store and to have the social interaction inherent in those activities. Also people need to have their homes modified and repaired so it’s safer and easier to live there. Most people want to stay in their own homes and neighborhoods as they age and we arrange for hundreds of small services and projects that help people to live independently. Sometimes it only takes a little bit of help to make a big difference in someone’s sense of dignity and self-sufficiency.”

Members of the program contribute their time and talents to help each other with non-medical, neighborly tasks, such as rides, respite care, socialization, home repairs, errands and other jobs. The PIC environment lets each member feel comfortable asking for help because they have offered to contribute back to the talent pool.

Says Sandra Jackson, co-founder and board chair, “The service-exchange is based on reciprocity. People are part of the solution here. Everybody has something to contribute and is valued for it.”

For more information, contact Partners In Care, 6 S. Ritchie Highway, Pasadena, Md. 21122, 410-544-4800 or 800-227-5500, The Upscale, Resale Boutique tel: 410-544-0568.

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