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Spotlight on Innovations and Achievements: Aging Ahead

We're highlighting the cutting-edge programs and successful strategies used by the 2018 recipients of n4a's Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards in this weekly spotlight feature. This week we're focusing on Aging Ahead's Veteran-Directed Home & Community Based Services Program. Based in Manchester, MO, the agency was a 2018 a winner in the Home and Community-Based Services category.

The Veteran-Directed Home & Community Based Services program from Aging Ahead and the St. Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center has a presence in 34 states and has a goal to help veterans who need long-term services and supports. The collaborative decision-making model sets the Aging Ahead team apart as it has clearly demonstrated the value that AAA partnerships can provide to veterans and medical centers.

The initiative began when leadership at Aging Ahead learned about a program in Illinois that provided long-term services and supports to veterans. After a three-year planning process that included working with local AAAs and building a strong relationship with the St. Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Aging Ahead launched its program. Their advice to AAAs looking to implement a similar program? Take your time to build great relationships with local Veterans Affairs Medical Centers—and keep in mind that the process requires work and doesn't happen overnight. Aging Ahead recommends having patience. And the results show this to be a good idea—100 percent of respondents to a satisfaction survey say they are living their life the way they want due to, at least in part, the program.

The Veteran-Directed Home & Community Based Services program has continued to boast high satisfaction rates from participants as well as cultivate a sense of dignity and well-being for veterans. The team at Aging Ahead is proud to say that most participants can stay in their homes with comfort-oriented services through the end of life, with the program's backing. Aging Ahead has used its expertise on creating veterans' programs to participate in webinars with the Administration for Community Living and AARP, and to expand its work with various medical centers, including one in Durham, NC.

To learn more about Aging Ahead's Veteran-Directed Home and Community Based Services Program, contact Lisa Knoll, CEO of Aging Ahead at lknoll@agingahead.org.

To learn more about last year's 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!

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