By Judy Tacyn
Twenty-five years ago, friends Barbara Huston, Maureen Cavaiola and Sandy O’Connor wondered what support their parents would need as they aged. Together, gathered around a kitchen table, they founded Partners In Care (PIC).
“The mission then was exactly as it is today,” said president and CEO Mandy Arnold. “We are kind hands supporting seniors. We provide the kinds of assistant seniors might ask of a neighbor. We are the organization where all generations support the independence of older adults.”
PIC helps seniors navigate county and state agencies, resource referrals, form and application completion and home-from-hospital transitions. The nonprofit also assists with caregiver support, activities and gatherings to address social isolation, home visits, phone calls, picking up groceries and prescriptions, home repair, transportation (including Mobility Bus coordination), and occasional cleaning and laundry.
Every interaction between members is considered a “task,” and more than 1,300 tasks are logged every month. Approximately 219 rides each week are provided by volunteers.
Partners In Care has grown from its initial three volunteers to 80, and original 10 members to now more than 3,100. Anyone who provides a service, or anyone who receives a service, is called a member. In many cases, providers and receivers are one and the same.
“We are members serving members,” added Arnold. “The bonds we establish with each other are so amazing. We’ve heard and experienced the most beautiful stories of friendship. We really are family.”
PIC now services Anne Arundel, Caroline and Talbot counties.
To volunteer or to receive support, seniors must complete a member care application. Partners In Care screens every person who wants to come into the organization.
“We don’t want to be Uber or Lyft,” said Arnold of the transportation networks where a stranger appears at a doorstep. “Everyone deserves to be safe, and every family member wants to feel security in knowing that their loved ones are being taken care of by someone they trust.”
Partners In Care runs its Upscale Resale Boutique, now located at 8151 Ritchie Highway in the Festival At Pasadena shopping center near BJ’s Wholesale Club, which provides revenue to cover 40 percent of the operating expenses for the entire organization. The boutique employs one full-time person and two part-time workers, and hundreds of volunteers provided more than 13,200 hours in 2017 alone. Other fundraising events are held throughout the year.
“In the future, we’d really like to expand our partnerships with the health care community,” said Arnold. “We are helping people get to hospitals, physician’s offices and other health care facilities. We’ve got 25 years of data that shows just how vital we are to seniors in our community. It would be wonderful to have strong partnerships with these providers.
“Partners in Care isn’t just a business model, it’s what we do and who we are,” Arnold added. “I plan on doing this until I cannot do it anymore.”
To get involved with Partners In Care, donate to the Upscale Resale Boutique, donate a vehicle or a financial gift, visit www.partnersincare.org or call 410-544-4800.