Healthy Seniors at Home

(St. Joseph, MI)  Region IV Area Agency on Aging announces that two of its initiatives recently received recognition from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) with an Aging Innovations Award, the highest honor presented by n4a to member agencies. The awards program is sponsored by CST your Link to Life (CST-LTL). Healthy Seniors at Home and 2900 Lakeview – Service Expansion & Coordination were among the top 13 of 45 local aging programs to receive honors during the n4a Annual Conference & Tradeshow held July 12-16, 2014, in Dallas, TX. The Healthy Seniors at Home program took third place overall in the national competition.

The 2014 n4a Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards recognizes Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and Title VI Native American aging programs that develop and implement cutting-edge approaches to support older adults, people with disabilities and their family caregivers. A part of the criteria for the selection of the honorees was the ease with which other agencies could replicate the program in their communities.

“With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act underway, our members are investigating new ways to position themselves in the long-term and health care marketplaces, as well as to strengthen long-standing services to meet the needs of America’s rapidly growing older adult population,” said n4a’s Chief Executive Officer Sandy Markwood.  “Our members work tirelessly, and with little fanfare in their communities,” and this program enables us to shine a well-deserved spotlight on their ground-breaking work,” Ms. Markwood added.

Healthy Seniors at Home provides frail seniors who cannot attend traditional site-based classes access to chronic disease self-management training through an in-home learning model. Senior volunteers who themselves have a chronic condition attend a six-week Personal Action Toward Health (PATH) class and then share what they have learned with homebound seniors through a peer-to-peer information sharing model. Participants in the Health Seniors at Home program report an increase in their ability to live independently, manage symptoms, increase exercise and activity levels. Participants showed a decrease in fatigue, health distress, disability and activity limitations. United Way of Southwest Michigan and Frederick S. Upton Foundation provide funding for the project.

“United Way of Southwest Michigan is proud to provide funding for the Healthy Seniors at Home project. The work of the senior volunteers and the impact of PATH training are critical components of United Way's goal of assuring that older adults have the knowledge and ability to be healthy,” said United Way President Anna Murphy.

The 2900 Lakeview – Service Expansion & Coordination project is a partnership between Region IV Area Agency on Aging (AAA), PACE of Southwest Michigan and Disability Network of Southwest Michigan to create a one-stop shop access point for aging and disability services. Co-location of staff, co-branding and integrated intake creates seamless access to information and services across the age and disability spectrum. Opened in 2012, the 34,000 square-foot shared venue houses AAA, PACE a public resource center, call center for aging and disability, Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions, SeniorNet, Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program and multiple meeting and training rooms. The project created 53 jobs and $12 million in annual revenue.

“We’re proud to be recognized as an outstanding example of communities coming together to expand services. Co-location of PACE and Disability Network with Area Agency on Aging has increased awareness of options and solutions when people face challenges. As a result, many more people are receiving the information and support they need,” says Lynn Kellogg, chief executive officer for Region IV Area Agency on Aging.

The 2014 n4a Aging Achievement Awards honored traditional and new strategies in a range of categories including Advocacy, Care Transitions, Caregiving, Community Planning/Livable Communities, Economic Security/Financial Assistance, Elder Abuse/Financial Exploitation Prevention, Ethnic/Cultural Diversity, Health/-Long-Term Services & Supports Integration, Healthy Aging/Nutrition, Home & Community-Based Care, Information & Referral, Technology, Transportation/Mobility Options, Volunteerism/Civic Engagement and “You Name It!” All winners are showcased in an n4a publication (LINK).

Region IV Area Agency on Aging is a private, not-for-profit corporation. Established in 1974 for the business of developing age supportive commerce and services, it plays a major role in planning, funding and delivery of a host of services. Its primary service area includes Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties. For more information visit www.AreaAgencyonAging or call the Info-Line for Aging and Disability at 800-654-2810.