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A global innovation challenge for the improvement of well-being in aging populations was announced today by a group of industry, academic and government partners affiliated with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s Council to Address Aging.

The In Good Company: The 2018 Optimal Aging Challenge seeks to develop breakthrough technologies, community resources and solutions that reduce social isolation and loneliness among older adults.

Despite the advent of lightning-speed technological connectivity, 29 percent of older adults are socially isolated, and both isolation and loneliness are known to have adverse consequences on individual and community health. Research from the American Psychological Association suggests that the loneliness epidemic now represents a threat to public health rivaling that of obesity.

“Led by our Council to Address Aging, Massachusetts is thinking differently about aging and we are proud to be one of the few states in the country certified by AARP for our commitment to become more ‘age-friendly,’” said Governor Baker. “The In Good Company Challenge is a great opportunity to improve the lives of older adults. We look forward to seeing what this challenge will develop so that Massachusetts can help ensure that those who grew up, raised families and built our communities, can continue to contribute their energy, experience and talents toward making Massachusetts a great place.”

Competition Sponsors of the In Good Company: The 2018 Optimal Aging Challenge include GE Healthcare, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AgeLab and Benchmark Senior Living, in collaboration with three members of the Governor’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Workgroup. Challenge awards are being funded by the MIT AgeLab and Benchmark Senior Living. Challenge administration is being delivered by GE GENIUSLINK.

“The Governor’s aging initiative, coupled with this challenge, is both an opportunity to improve the lives of older adults in Massachusetts and an unprecedented call to create a new economic engine of innovation in the Commonwealth driven by a world that is living longer and wanting to live better,” said Joseph Coughlin, PhD, Director of MIT AgeLab.

Representatives from the Competition Sponsors and the Governor’s Council on Aging will serve as judges for the Challenge and are looking for proposals across four key pillars:

  • Caregiving,
  • Transportation services,
  • Elder care housing solutions, and
  • Employment and volunteerism opportunities among older populations.

Judges will evaluate entries based upon, but not limited to, their prospective applicable market size, accessibility across diverse populations and commercial viability. Up to four of the most promising entries will receive an initial cash prize of $5,000 USD each, and may have an opportunity to participate in public and private endeavors with prize sponsors and their partner entities to develop their solution such that it can better serve the older population and their networks.

“There’s a perception that our aging communities have been underserved by advances in technology, as well as innovations in business models, service models, and beyond; with this initiative we hope to start redressing that imbalance,” said Ger Brophy, Head of Cell Therapy, Life Sciences at GE Healthcare.

“There is deep interest in the transformational ideas and creativity this challenge will inspire,” stated Tom Grape, Chairman and CEO of Benchmark Senior Living. “When implemented, these ideas will connect the older adults we respect and love to what’s meaningful and possible at every stage of their lives.”

To participate, submit an entry by September 28, 2018 at 5pm ET. Judges will evaluate submissions throughout October and November and announce winners in December 2018.
Subject to Official Rules [http://bit.ly/InGoodCompanyRules]. Must submit at least one Entry by no later than 5pm EST on Sept 28, 2018 to be eligible. Must be 18 years of age or older to participate. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Up to 4 cash awards (USD $5,000 total each). Winning depends on Entrant’s skills in meeting judging criteria. Sponsors reserve right to limit or not award all prizes depending on quality of Entries received.

ABOUT THE GOVERNOR’S COUNCIL TO ADDRESS AGING IN MASSACHUSETTS: Massachusetts Governor Baker launched the Governor’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts in 2017 to support the Commonwealth’s desire to become the most age-friendly state for people of all ages. The Council’s mission is to address current

GE Healthcare
practices that support healthy aging, improve public awareness of and access to services for older adults and caregivers, and leverage innovation and technology to support aging in communities. To learn more about the Council, visit its website.
ABOUT GE HEALTHCARE: GE Healthcare is the $19 billion healthcare business of GE (NYSE: GE). As a leading provider of medical imaging, monitoring, biomanufacturing, and cell and gene therapy technologies, GE Healthcare enables precision health in diagnostics, therapeutics and monitoring through intelligent devices, data analytics, applications and services. With over 100 years of experience in the healthcare industry and more than 50,000 employees globally, the company helps improve outcomes more efficiently for patients, healthcare providers, researchers and life sciences companies around the world. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and The Pulse for latest news, or visit our website www.gehealthcare.com for more information.

ABOUT THE MIT AGELAB: The MIT AgeLab is a multidisciplinary research program that works with business, government, and NGOs to improve the quality of life of older people and those who care for them. The AgeLab applies consumer-centered systems thinking to understand the challenges and opportunities of longevity and emerging generational lifestyles to catalyze innovation across business markets. To learn more about the MIT AgeLab, visit its website.

ABOUT BENCHMARK: Benchmark is a leading provider of senior living services in the Northeast with assets under management valued at nearly $2.5 billion. Founded in 1997 by Tom Grape, a charter member of the Governor’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts, Benchmark employs 6,200 associates and operates 56 senior living communities in seven states. In 2018, Benchmark was certified as a Great Place to Work by the Great Place to Work Institute and became the first senior living organization and only the fifth Massachusetts-based company to receive Certified Age Friendly Employer (CAFE) designation from RetirementJobs.com. It has been recognized as a top workplace by The Boston Globe for 10 consecutive years as well as by the Boston Business Journal, Connecticut Post, Hartford Business Journal and Hartford Courant. For more information, visit our website.

ABOUT GE GENIUSLINK GENIUSLINK (www.ge-geniuslink.com) is GE’s Expert Operating System – leveraging gig economy methodology to connect business priorities with experts and solutions for outsized performance. GENIUSLINK engages millions of brilliant minds to

GE Healthcare
provide customers with new approaches to increase speed and agility without increasing operational complexity. GENIUSLINK is part of GE’s Global Operations organization.

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The fifth workbook in AARP’s Roadmap to Livability Series is aimed strengthening the “healthcare and community supports” part of age-friendly assessments and action plans.

The Health Services and Community Supports Workbook includes sample survey questions and an asset inventory checklist, among other helpful features for any city or town looking to become more Age-Friendly. There are cross-cutting themes to the asset inventory that raise issues like economic barriers to healthcare as well as transportation options to medical appointments and community support opportunities.

Practitioners and stakeholders may also consider ensuring Dementia Friendly elements and amendments to the content of this workbook.

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Periodically, the Healthy Aging Collaborative will share news articles that mention state and local efforts to make cities, towns and regions in Massachusetts Age- and Dementia Friendly.

Check out the following articles from early July on the momentum of this movement building across the state.

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Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the City of Boston’s Commission on Affairs of the Elderly  launched their Age and Dementia-Friendly Business designation, a new pilot program that encourages local businesses to make their spaces and services more inclusive for people of all ages. Today’s announcement was held at Local 338 Bagels and Coffee in West Roxbury, one of nine organizations that received the designation today, which includes certificates and decals to mark their business as Age and Dementia-Friendly.

“In Boston, we are committed to making our city the most age-friendly city in America,” said Mayor Walsh. “Part of that commitment requires us to be able to respond to the needs of our older residents to make sure they feel safe and supported in their community. Today as we celebrate the businesses who have committed to age-friendly customer service in their establishments, we are able to remark on all the progress made and accomplishments achieved in making Boston a better place for everyone to age well and live well.”

Businesses who are eligible for the designation are ones that have taken steps such as ensuring they have respectful and patient staff, providing resting areas and non-slip flooring and using universal symbols, such as arrows. The nine other establishments receiving the designation include: Parkway Real Estate, Cryotherapy, West on Centre, Health Express, BCYF Roche Center, Human Harmonies, Milton Chiropractic and Bay State Physical Therapy, Recreo Coffee and Roasterie, and Parkway Hearing.

To qualify for the designation, businesses had to meet certain criteria, which includes improvements that would benefit older residents, such as accessible bathrooms, wider aisles, menus with larger font sizes, and better lighting. These important accessibility improvements have been shared through resident feedback gathered as part of the Age-Friendly Boston Action Plan, the City’s blueprint to make Boston the best city to live for older adults within three years.

The Age and Dementia-Friendly Business designation is one of the action items included in the plan, which is marking its one year of completion through the new Age-Friendly Year 1 Achievements Report which shares the successes made over the last year in making Boston an age-friendly city.

Highlights of Year 1 Completed Action Items Include:

  • Launched interactive restrooms map  of all city-owned public restrooms as a resource for older residents.
  • Curated an Employment Guide with current workforce training programs and career development opportunities for older workers.  Included as an action item, the Elderly Commission committed to identifying and addressing the barriers to employment for people over 50 in our city.
  • Designed front-facing City staff training to educate employees on the unique needs of older adults, including those with dementia.
  • Developed a pilot senior Civic Academy a five-session course where residents of diverse backgrounds and neighborhoods of the city came together to learn about municipal, state, and federal policy and how to become effective advocates.
  • Launched Age and Dementia-Friendly Business designation to encourage local businesses to make their spaces and services more inclusive for people of all ages.

“During the first year of the implementation process, I am very impressed by the dedication of the Elderly Commission staff and other City of Boston staff,” said 66-year-old South End resident Roger Tepe, who is and advisory member of the Age-Friendly workgroup. “Significant progress is already underway. I am very hopeful as a senior living in Boston about where the Age-Friendly Plan is heading.”

“These accomplishments reflect the wisdom and input of community voices from all neighborhoods across the city,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan and vice president for corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “Boston’s commitment to making the city work for all residents will ensure vibrant, livable, accessible neighborhoods.”

Jan Mutchler, Director of the Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging at UMass Boston and Age-Friendly Boston partner, said, “We are delighted with the progress made by the City during its first year carrying out the Age Friendly Boston Action Plan. The leadership in the City, and the partnerships established to make this initiative successfully, are impressive. UMass Boston Gerontology is proud to be an ongoing partner in this effort.

In 2014, Mayor Walsh signed onto the World Health Organization’s (WHO) network of Age-Friendly Cities, through their United States partner AARP, and launched the Age-Friendly Boston Initiative. Under Mayor Walsh’s leadership, the Elderly Commission formed a partnership with UMass Boston Gerontology Institute, supported by a grant from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation, to conduct research based on the guidelines set forth by the WHO. Grounded in community feedback, the plan identifies recommendations and action items the City will take to enhance the quality of life for Boston’s older adult residents.

Developed in partnership with AARP, the Tufts Health Plan Foundation and UMass Boston, the 75 action items in the Action Plan were developed through 25 listening sessions, featuring engagement from over 4,000 older residents throughout Boston. The Action Plan is organized around eight key life domains, or main concerns.

The complete Age-Friendly Boston Action Plan and Year 1 Achievements Report are available at: www.boston.gov/age-friendly.

About Age-Friendly Cities

The guiding principle of an Age-Friendly society focuses on designing livable communities that promote good health, strong civic participation and clear communication. That means safe, walkable streets; offering better housing and transportation options; improving access to key services and providing opportunities to be socially engaged. It means sustaining economic growth and enabling happier, healthier residents.

About the Elderly Commission

The Elderly Commission facilitates full and equal participation in all aspects of life by older adults in Boston. The commission is dedicated to improving the lives of Boston’s older adults by connecting them with resources and information, and it is focused on setting the City’s direction for successful aging in Boston. Visit boston.gov for more information.

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The Home Care Aide Council announces an opportunity for an energetic, driven leader to support the legislative and policy initiatives of the organization. The Executive Director drives the organization’s vision, while meeting the expectations of our membership and serving as the voice for home care aide services in Massachusetts.

The Council is a vibrant nonprofit with a mission to serve and promote Massachusetts home care agencies, with focus on home care aides.

See the full posting for the Home Care Aide Council Executive Director position.

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Please join the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs in a set of presentations and a discussion related to how Age and Dementia Friendly communities can work together with Villages and other At-Home Associations.

  • Hear from and connect with Villages from across the state to talk about shared challenges and opportunities in the Age- and Dementia Friendly Movement.
  • Learn about the Age-Friendly State designation and the work of the Governor’s Council to Address Aging.
  • Provide input on how Villages and At-Home Associations can support and receive support from stakeholders and organizations engaged in the Age- and Dementia Friendly movement.

DATE: Monday July 16th, 2018

TIME: 12pm-2pm

LOCATION: One Ashburton Place, Boston, 21st floor

RSVP: The meeting is free however we would appreciate your RSVP to karamjeter@gmail.com or (617) 223-9904

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As a leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injury in the U.S. and Massachusetts, falls remain an area of focus for the healthy aging community in terms of prevention and reducing health care costs. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) recently issued a Data Brief to update data on fatal and nonfatal fall-related injuries.

The full brief is available here, and some selected data points include the following:

  • In 2014, 528 Massachusetts residents ages 65 and older died and 71,068 nonfatal unintentional fall-related injuries were treated at hospitals and emergency departments.
  • Projected lifetime costs associated with fall injuries4 among MA residents ages 65 and older are estimated to be $1.9 billion.
  • In 2014, 28.6% of Massachusetts adults ages 65 and older reported having fallen and 10.6% reported a fall-related injury in the past 12 months.
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Massachusetts Councils on Aging (MCOA) seeks a full-time (40 hours/week) Project Manager (PM) for the Dementia Friendly Massachusetts’ (DFM) Initiative. 

The PM is responsible for ongoing implementation of a grass roots plan to engage 115 communities in becoming Dementia Friendly Communities. This includes gathering commitments from organizations within multiple sectors (e.g. local government, retail, public safety, health care, banking, religious, and others) in becoming Dementia Friendly.  The PM will work closely with MCOA staff, DFM Initiative Partners and a DFM Leadership Team and shall be supervised by MCOAs Director of Behavioral Support Programs.  The position is funded by a 3-year grant to MCOA from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation which ends on December 31st 2020.

The full job announcement and details on how to apply can be found at MCOA’s website.

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Central Boston Elder Services, Inc. (CBES), a leading non-profit provider of services for elders in the Boston area, seeks an innovative and inspirational leader to serve as its next Chief Executive Officer (CEO). One of the state’s largest elder care organizations, CBES provides high quality, responsive, and supportive services and programs to the elderly and the disabled in need of health and human services.

While serving the community with vision, compassion and integrity, CBES seeks to provide services in a manner that reinforces the dignity and worth of each individual; acknowledges and respects cultural sensitivity, gender, and other differences; and allows low income, frail elders to remain at home and delay or avoid institutionalization. The new CEO will build on the legacy of CBES’s current Executive Director, Catherine Hardaway, who is retiring from her role following 20 years of visionary leadership.

Here is the official posting for the CBES CEO Position.

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AARP continues to roll out new and updated resources to assist communities in becoming more age-friendly. The 2018 Livability Index is the latest tool that provides cities and towns with a “livability score” based on a variety of data points.

Similar to the MHAC Healthy Aging Data Reports and Community Profiles, the AARP Livability Index allows stakeholders to search by community and even ZIP codes to assess the assets and opportunities in a given city or town. Coupled with other data – like surveys, listening sessions, MHAC Community Profiles, etc. – this helps local coalitions gain critical insight in the assessment phase of the age-friendly continuous improvement cycle.

The Livability Index also comes accompanied with a report that goes deeper into the categories of data to rank communities across the country. AARP breaks down cities and towns by population size and created a “top ten” list of the most livable communities in each category. Massachusetts shows up in each bracket with Boston ranked second for “Large Communities” (500,000+), Cambridge ranked seventh for “Mid-Size Communities” (100,000 – 499,999), and Brookline – a WHO Age-Friendly Community – is eighth among “Small Communities” (25,000 – 99,999).

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