[caption id="attachment_86044" align="alignnone" width="500"] Napa Valley Hospice in 2012 started a targeted outreach to the Hispanic community, which accounts for 55 percent of schoolchildren in the county. Part of that outreach were several hospice-commissioned Dia de los Muertos displays by local artists. (image credit: Napa Valley Hospice)[/caption]

ST. HELENA -- Napa Valley Vintners on Monday said the more than $525,000 in Auction Napa Valley 2013 proceeds are going to three agencies that help 4,500-plus Napa County residents live independently and deal with the effects of aging.

In response to a growing number of Napa County residents over 65 years old, the nearly 500-winery-member wine industry trade group picked Napa Valley Hospice and Adult Day Services (receiving $400,000, nvhads.org), Area Agency on Aging ($64,000, aaans.org), Rianda House Senior Activity Center ($63,000, riandahouse.org) in St. Helena and for the fourth round of disbursements from the annual charity wine auction, which was last held over Memorial Day weekend.

Collectively these agencies help an aging population remain physically, mentally and socially active and independent as long as possible, live safely at home, have caregivers to deal with the explosion of Alzheimer’s cases and other dementia-related diseases, get treatments to ease symptoms, and receive end-of-life care.

"We are beyond grateful for the ongoing generosity of the Napa Valley Vintners to our organization, as their investment in our mission is essential to our success," said Linda Gibson, president and chief executive officer of Napa Valley Hospice and Adult Day Services, said in a statement. "Auction Napa Valley funding enables us to care for some of the most vulnerable members of our community, regardless of their ability to pay, ensuring access to exceptional healthcare and expert resources for those dealing with life-altering challenges such as chronic conditions, illness, death and bereavement."

Social services for older adults are especially important in Napa County, according to the vintner group. Nearly 16 percent of the population is older than 65, compared with 11.7 percent statewide. The county has the eighth-highest per-capita population of seniors 85 and older in the state. Additionally, 32 percent of Napa County seniors live near the poverty line.

Funding for programs that care for this population critical to the health, well-being and integrity of the community as a whole, according to the association.

Services provided by the organizations funded in this phase of Auction Napa Valley giving not only help to care for residents in the latter phase of their lives, but also help to offset the economic implications of an aging population on public and private resources.

For example, the StopsFalls Napa Valley Program funded in part by the Area Agency on Aging, provides preventative in-home assessments, equipment and education to help limit the risk of seniors falling at home. Each year, falls cause nearly 500 Napa County seniors to have injuries that require hospitalization, at an average cost of $40,000 per patient. Even more dramatic, these falls can result in serious injury, death, loss of independence and reduced quality of life. The likelihood of returning home after a fall declines with age, increasing hardship on the patient and their families, as well as the cost of residential nursing facility care.

"One of the benchmarks of a community is how it cares for its seniors, the people who have raised families, been part of the workforce and contributed in general to the fabric of life," noted Linda Reiff, president and chief executive officer of Napa Valley Vintners.

To date, the association has invested more than $120 million from Auction Napa Valley proceeds in community nonprofits in Napa County.Spotlight on the recipient agenciesNapa Valley Hospice & Adult Day Services

Napa Valley Hospice & Adult Day Services received $400,000. Started in 1979, it serves more than 2,700 Napa County residents, including more than 150 children.

The hospice is the only Napa County community-based nonprofit providing comprehensive end-of-life services including Alzheimer’s care, adult day health services to prevent unnecessary hospitalization and emergency room visits, a countywide school bereavement program for children and youth, and caregiver services.Area Agency on Aging

Area Agency on Aging for Napa and Solano counties received $64,000 and serves more than 1,100 Napa County residents. It provides or procures services to meet the needs of underserved older adults in Napa County directing funding to community-based organizations that serve low-income seniors, linking these seniors and their caregivers to services that allow them to age in their own homes safely and with dignity.

Programs include StopFalls Napa Valley, Healthy Aging Population Initiative and chronic disease management.Rianda House Senior Activity Center

Rianda House Senior Activity Center received $63,000 in auction proceeds. The agency serves more than 700 upvalley residents. The center serves as a hub for seniors, offering a weekly calendar of activities and links to other senior service organizations.

It is committed to providing mature adults with an environment that stimulates minds, strengthens bodies and promotes independent living through education, exercise and social involvement that helps this group to remain safely self-reliant.