n4a Honors Innovative Programs that Promote Successful Aging in America
Today, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) honored 38 programs with an impressive track record of success helping older Americans remain in their homes and communities for as long as possible.
n4a announced the 2015 recipients of the prestigious Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards at its 40th Annual Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The awards program, sponsored by Critical Signal Technologies your Link to Life (CST-LTL), recognizes Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and Title VI Native American aging programs that have implemented successful initiatives to support older adults, people with disabilities and family caregivers. Honorees shared best practices with an audience of over 900 Aging Network leaders who gathered at the four-day conference to engage in a dialogue about challenges facing older adults and solutions being developed by AAAs throughout the nation.
"With the healthcare landscape continuing to change rapidly, 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.
Twenty-two programs received Aging Achievement Awards and sixteen initiatives were honored with Aging Innovations Awards. Honorees developed programs in a wide variety of areas including care transitions, elder abuse, Livable Communities and transportation.
In presenting the awards, Heather Sellar, Executive Director of Business Development of CST -LTL said, "There can be no more important mission than to work to ensure that older Americans are able to live with dignity and independence in their homes and communities. The men and women we honor today make this mission a reality for so many people across the United States."
"CST-LTL has made a significant sponsorship investment in the program over the past eight years, an investment that has paid off in the form of innovative initiatives that have helped Area Agencies on Aging achieve their missions in an increasingly competitive marketplace," according to CST-LTL President and CEO, Jeffery S. Prough.
All of the 38 award-winning programs are profiled in n4a's 2015 AIA book. Following is an overview of the programs that won the top three awards:
First place honors were accorded to the "Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health (REACH II)" program of the United Way's Area Agency on Aging of Tarrant County. REACH II is a nationally recognized evidence-based training intervention for caregivers of patients with Alzheimer?s disease or dementia. The program is designed to reduce caregiver burden and depression and improve caregivers' ability to provide self-care. Caregivers are given a customized, six-month plan that offers face-to-face visits and telephone support.
REACH II was first implemented during a Community Living Program Demonstration five years ago. Since the inception, 92 percent of the 1,223 clients served have been able to stay in their homes for at least six months following program completion. This has helped prevent premature nursing home placement, thus enhancing quality of life and contributing to an estimated $30.4 million in nursing home cost savings.
Second place honors were received by the Area Office on Aging (AOoA) of Northwestern Ohio, Inc. for its "Housing and Supportive Services for Older Adults" program. Through a partnership with the National Church Residences (NCR), AOoA and NCR rebuilt a historic housing complex that had been destroyed following an accident to create a 54-unit facility known as the Renaissance Apartments. AOoA provides services, including daily meals, home-care waiver services, information and assistance and service coordination, to residents. The collaboration allows some of the community's most vulnerable citizens to have access to quality care and supportive housing.
Research shows that increased levels of social supports, such as daily meal service, the availability of community-based resources and information, health screenings and medical transportation, have positively affected the health status of residents.
Third place honors were received by Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc. (ESMV) for its "Making Life Care Choices: Health Care Choices and Advance Planning" program. ESMV developed and implemented a training program for all agency staff to increase their understanding of Health Care Proxies (HCPs) and Advance Directives (ADs) and ensure they discuss key information about these documents with consumers. Over the course of two sessions, participating staff members receive general education on HCPs and ADs, complete the documents for themselves and discuss their process, and receive specific scripts and scenarios to assist them as they speak with consumers about their care choices.
Pre and post-surveys of employees indicated an increased knowledge of and increased motivation to complete HCPs for themselves and family, as well as an increased confidence in undertaking end-of-life discussions with clients. This has resulted in a significant increase in documented HCPs.