Ensuring that APS staff feel appreciated for their difficult work, have strong community network partners and have supportive resources to achieve safe and healthy work-life balances is critical to supporting older disabled adults in our communities. In other words, those providing the resources need to feel valued, empowered and energized. Each year, the advisory supports the local APS hosted “All Staff Day” to recognize staff for their hard work and dedication to older and disabled adult community members. This day consists of fun events such as a holiday themed table decoration contest, a costume contest, singing and dancing activities and special guest speakers on health and wellness. The APS caseworker winners of the Health & Hope stories are recognized during this time. The board provides breakfast and lunch for this event and also volunteers to facilitate the event.
In 2007, the board began hosting an annual day-long community education event to support awareness and needs of community-based older adults. This event is held every May in recognition of Older American’s Month. This annual event is designed to bring together community partners from financial, legal, criminal, medical, mental health and social services so that they are aware of challenges faced by older and disabled adults, as well as the community resources available for assisting this population. Attendance has grown to approximately 300 people at each event. The board works to secure donated food, beverages and event bags for attendees.
The 79th Legislative Session tasked APS with engaging the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board regarding the development of curriculum and degree programs in fields relating to adult protective services, and creating a statewide public awareness campaign designed to educate the college students about the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older and disabled adults. Therefore, the Region 6 APS Advisory Board created a specialized training for college and university students to increase their awareness and understanding of APS programs. The training walks participants through a day in the life of a caseworker and discusses APS service delivery. Each year the Board makes sure the training is available and provides breakfast and lunch for training participants. College day is just another example of how the APS board strives to educate the Houston community.