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Spotlight on Innovations and Achievements: Central Minnesota Council on Aging and Dancing Sky AAA

Learn how these agencies collaborated with a community coalition to explore how communities and systems can better foster the health and well-being of rural older Minnesotans.

We're proud to highlight the award-winning work of the 2020 winners of n4a's Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards in this weekly spotlight feature. This week, we are focusing on Central Minnesota Council on Aging and Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging's Silos to Circles Rural Aging Well Initiative. The agency was a 2020 Aging Achievement Award winner in the Community Planning & Livable Communities category. The 2020 AIA Awards were made possible thanks to the support of Centene.
 
Often families, friends or caregivers don't know where to turn to when their aging loved ones need help. The Silos to Circles Rural Aging Well Initiative is piloting ways to improve the aging experience in four rural MN communities—Moorhead, Perham, Crosby and Southern Chisago County—by building awareness of resources and holding events for older adults, their families and caregivers. The Central Minnesota Council on Aging and Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging partnered to collaborate on the initiative.
 
The AAA's roles have been to identify allies for system improvements within the identified strategies and to facilitate dialog to increase capacity of local service providers to efficiently and effectively support older adults in the pilot communities.
 
The pilot projects resulted in the formation of a community coalition with 179 network partners. The community events not only provided educational opportunities but also a resource for social engagement. Outreach events and community forums were attended by 6,029 people. A total of 11,578 paper resource guides were distributed.
 
In 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic halted all in person events, the group quickly transitioned to virtual options. A local Community Education agency (also a coalition member) hosted the events under their meeting platform.
 
To learn more about the Silos to Circles Rural Aging Well Initiative and how your agency can replicate this program in your community, contact Lori Vrolson, lori@cmcoa.org.

For more information about the 2020 winners, see the press release and read the book of winners! To read about past winners and find other best practices for your agency to consider, visit our Best Practices Clearinghouse page.

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