Spotlight on Innovations and Achievements: Aging Ahead
We're proud to highlight the award-winning work of the 2019 winners of n4a's Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards in this weekly spotlight feature. This week, we are focusing on Aging Ahead's Aging Ahead at Home—Bringing Resources to Your Door program. The agency was a 2019 Aging Innovations Award winner in the Information and Referral category.
Through their programs and services, AAAs serve as a critical connection for older adults who are often socially isolated. Aging Ahead, a AAA in Missouri, decided to tackle the issue of social isolation by creating a unique fee-based private pay program to help low-income older adults in its community learn about programs and services that are available through the AAA and other providers. The housing management companies foot the bill, providing the AAA with a new revenue source and the ability to expand their services. Called Aging Ahead at Home—Bringing Resources to Your Door, the program connects low-income older adults to resources onsite at the affordable housing communities where they live.
A dedicated Community Options Specialist provides the residents of affordable housing communities with onsite support and individual assessments to help ensure residents are aware of programs offered by Aging Ahead and other community providers. Aging Ahead at Home staff also share information about educational and community-building events that may be of interest to residents. Whether the event provides information on how to apply for benefits or is simply a fun card game, the residents benefit from services provided by the program.
The Aging Ahead team administers the program to four low-income housing communities. Since the program began, more than 275 residents of affordable housing communities have accessed services and have participated in more than 100 educational events. To address the issue of social isolation, the team ensures that program and services are delivered in an inviting, communal space that encourages socialization.
Aging Ahead at Home staff have heard from residents that they are thankful and appreciative to learn of the services described during the program. In addition, Aging Ahead notes that the program has enabled the AAA's staff build trust with the residents. If residents ask for help, the team will provide it. If the answer needs research, residents know the Aging Ahead at Home team will do what is needed to respond with possible solutions.
Margi Valleroy, Aging Ahead's Community Options and Services Manager, loves to see new faces at scheduled events. This means she can welcome new community members and offer them helpful assessments. It also means that Aging Ahead is succeeding in its goal of helping combat social isolation. Margi recently said, “We love seeing their faces light up as they are learning that they will be receiving a refund, a solution to an issue or some needed supplies. But hearing from someone, ‘Wow, you have really helped me!' can easily make our faces light up as well!”
To learn more about the Metropolitan Aging Ahead's Aging Ahead at Home-Bringing Resources to Your Door program, contact Lisa Knoll, Chief Executive Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the 2019 winners, read our press release and check out our book of winners to learn how your agency can implement this or similar programs in your community!
Join n4a and winners of 2019's Aging Innovations Awards for n4a Lunchtime Innovations, a four-part webinar series that will share secrets to success for these award-winning programs, including Aging Ahead.