The Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative is a network of leaders in community, health and wellness, government, advocacy, research, business, education, and philanthropy who have come together to advance healthy aging.
Access, Equity and Inclusion are central to the work of the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative, which is why we are pleased to pass along news from SAGE (Service & Advocacy for LGBT Elders) about the “Welcome to Pride Initiative.”
Created by SAGE with the generous support of AARP, the initiative is a partnership among SAGE, Centerlink, Heritage of Pride, InterPride, and The Center for Black Equity. SAGE launched “Welcome to Pride” to share how Pride organizers across the country are making Pride celebrations age-friendly, enabling people of all ages to actively participate in community activities and treating everyone with respect.
Organizations that wish to publicly affirm their commitment to maintaining or increasing the age-friendliness of their events are encouraged to sign the Age-Friendly Pride Pledge. Want to be one of the first 100 organizations to sign on? Just sign the Age-Friendly Pride Pledge! You’ll be listed on SAGE’s website and in their Welcome to Pride Guide.
SAGE also invites you to complete a brief survey, the results of which will help SAGE develop age-friendly Pride materials that they hope to use to increase the age-friendliness of Prides across the country. Thank you in advance for taking the time to give us your feedback!
Nesterly, an inter-generational online matching service for older adults and college students is expanding their service for home-sharing and looking for local partners.
After a successful pilot with the City of Boston, Nesterly is expanding their service to the greater Boston area to include communities like Medford, Somerville, Newton and others. Specifically, Nesterly is looking to identify “hosts” to create listings for spare rooms using their simple signup process and match with an already strong number of students that have created profiles.
Nesterly has created a digital toolkit so that you can quickly and easily let your community know about the service that lets older households benefit from the extra space in their home.
Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced new community investments that reflect its commitment to make our cities and towns great places to grow up and grow old.
The nearly $1.8 million supports 16 community organizations working to make communities healthier for people of all ages, with a specific interest in engaging older adults. These investments are in addition to nearly $1 million in previously announced work.
“Our investments encourage collaboration and leverage accumulated wisdom we trust will lead to vibrant, inclusive, supportive communities,” said Thomas P. O’Neill, III, chair of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation board of directors. “Communities in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island recognize older people as assets for creating a better future.”
The supported grants in systems improvement and best practices reflect a trend of increased regional and local efforts to create age- and dementia-friendly communities. The initiatives promote cross-sector collaboration, expand engagement of older people, advance improvements to support the health and well-being of older people, and foster intergenerational connections.
“Each community will follow its own path to becoming age- and dementia-friendly. Support from Tufts Health Plan Foundation helps ensure resources reach under-represented communities at greatest risk for disparities,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president of corporate citizenship for Tufts Health Plan. “Everyone has a voice; it’s important that we listen.”
The 16 new grants represent collaborations with more than 300 community organizations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
Fourteen Systems and Best Practices grants address Health and Wellness, Purposeful Engagement, and Field and Capacity Building.
Cheshire Medical Center (Keene, N.H.) Promoting Age-Friendly Communities in Southwest New Hampshire—to build the capacity of rural communities in southwestern New Hampshire to respond to changing demographics using an age-friendly framework. Cheshire Medical Center is the fiscal agent for the Southwest Region Planning Commission. Two-year grant for $80,000.
Coastline Elderly Services (New Bedford, Mass.) Age-Friendly Greater New Bedford—to create thriving communities that reflect and honor the diversity of older people; engage community members, businesses and civic leaders; and positively change attitudes towards aging in New Bedford. Three-year grant for $245,000.
Elder Services of Merrimack Valley (Lawrence, Mass.) Healthy Living Evidence-Based Program Implementation and Sustainability—to transition a fully integrated, statewide network for program delivery from reliance on philanthropic support to one that has an established value proposition for health care providers, housing and other payers. One-year grant for $93,788.
Enterprise Community Partners (Boston, Mass.) Senior Affordable Housing Learning Collaborative—to support the continuation of a successful health and housing learning collaborative that includes Boston-area community development corporations. One-year grant for $50,000.
Friends of Dedham Council on Aging (Dedham, Mass.) Livable Dedham: Implementation—to build the capacity of the Livable Dedham initiative, a suburban model/example of an age-friendly community. One-year grant for $57,000.
Groundwork Lawrence (Lawrence, Mass.) Age-Friendly Lawrence—to lead a multi-stakeholder group that will plan, assess and develop strategies to support age-friendly efforts in Lawrence. Two-year grant for $199,813.
Honoring Choices Massachusetts (Weston, Mass.) Who’s Your Agent? Health Care Planning Ambassador Program: Peer-to-Peer Health Care Planning Discussions to Improve Healthy Living—to expand into New Hampshire and Rhode Island a program meaningfully engaging older adults in peer-to-peer health care planning discussions. One-year grant for $45,000.
Local Initiative Support Corporation (Providence, R.I.) The Intergenerational Farmers’ Market Project—to address social isolation for older adults through relationship-building activities that capitalize on the integration of arts, culture and community resources across Rhode Island. Two-year grant for $120,000.
Massachusetts Association for Mental Health (Boston, Mass.) Public Education and Systems Orientation for Community Organizations Serving Older Adults: Building a Level Playing Field for Mental Health Knowledge and Care Navigation Competency—to build and strengthen the capacity of nonprofits and frontline staff to focus on older adult mental health, substance use, and co-occurring mental health and substance abuse conditions. Three-year grant for $270,000.
Mill City Grows (Lowell, Mass.) Marketing to Older Adults to Increase Healthy Food Access—to increase older people’s access to fresh, local foods in Lowell through marketing, incentives, conveniently placed mobile market locations and a tailored product line. One-year grant for $20,000.
Rhode Island Parent Information Network (Cranston, R.I.) Own Your Health: A System to Support Evidence-Based Health Promotion in R.I. for Older People—to improve Rhode Island’s system for providing evidence-based programs for older adults and their caregivers. One-year grant for $63,085.
Southwest Boston Senior Services (ETHOS) (Jamaica Plain, Mass.) AgeWell Equality—to improve the systems used by aging services and other providers to reach, engage and serve LGBT elders and to help providers become more relevant to older LGBT people. Two-year grant for $80,000.
St. Elizabeth Community (Providence, R.I.) Support and Services at Home (SASH)—to expand and sustain the nationally recognized Support and Services at Home program, a proven best practice, in Rhode Island. One-year grant for $49,500.
Sustainable Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission (Manchester, N.H.) Becoming an Age-Friendly Community – Phase II—to utilize the completed community assessments and lessons learned from several age-friendly pilot communities conducted over the last year to guide additional communities as they develop short and long term age-friendly approaches. Two-year grant for $79,600.
Cape Cod Foundation (South Yarmouth, Mass.) Healthy Aging-Cape Cod: A Two-Year Assessment and Planning Process to Become an Age-Friendly Region—to build upon initial planning to undertake assessment and action plan development for a regional age- and dementia-friendly effort on Cape Cod. Two-year grant for $121,520.
University of Massachusetts Foundation (Boston, Mass.) Age-Friendly Boston Initiative: Phase II—to leverage partnerships, build collaborations, and intersect with initiatives in other sectors identified as priorities in the implementation phase of Age-Friendly Boston Initiative. Two-year grant for $200,000.
Age-Friendly Communities help bring together stakeholders focused on improving social determinants of health that have a significant impact on livability and population health. To that end, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (AGO) is announcing the Social Determinants Partnership grant opportunity.
The Social Determinants Partnership grant program will utilize funds secured by the AGO through various health care-related settlements to invest in innovative partnerships between health care providers like hospitals and community health centers, on the one hand, and social service organizations, such as non-profit organizations or local governments on the other hand, to reduce health disparities affecting underserved communities by addressing social determinants of health.
Social Determinants of Health
Social determinants of health are conditions where people live, learn, work, play, and worship that affect health, functioning, and quality-of-life. Examples of social determinants include access to health care services, availability of resources to support community living, transportation options, public safety, and social support. Substantial evidence confirms the link between social, economic, and physical conditions and health outcome disparities. Increased investment in targeted social services as well as improved connections between health care and social services reduce health disparities and health care costs. The AGO is committed to addressing social determinants of health to achieve greater health equity for all.
 US Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2020. “Social Determinants of Health.” 2015 https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/social-determinants-of-health
 E.g., Lauren A. Taylor, et al., Leveraging the Social Determinants of Health: What Works? Prepared for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts (2015).
Grant applications must be submitted jointly by one or more health care provider and one or more organizations that provides social services, such as non-profit organizations or municipal government agencies or boards. Organizations partnering together for purposes of this grant program must provide clinical or social services to the same target population. Partnerships may be new or existing. The emphasis on partnership is intended to leverage existing community organizations and infrastructure to integrate the social services that affect communities’ health outcomes into the traditional health care framework.
Meaningful integration of these key supports – whether through on-site provision of social services at the offices of a health care provider, systematic screenings of patients by health care providers and referrals to social service partner organizations, or another partnership model – aim to reduce health disparities and support equitable health outcomes.
The following types of organizations are eligible to apply:
Massachusetts Providers and Provider Organizations
New applicants will be asked to create a free online account. Any applicant that has applied for any grant using the online grant management system may log into its existing account.
Once applicants have started an application, the application may be saved and returned to later.
Confirmation of Receipt: Applicants typically receive an email confirmation within 48 business hours; if one is not received please call 617-963-2291 for further instructions and assistance.
Questions regarding this RFP may be submitted to AGOgrants@state.ma.us, only until 5:00 p.m. on June 29, 2018. When submitting your question(s), please include “Social Determinants Partnership” in your email subject line. Questions received and answers provided regarding this RFP will be posted on the AGO’s website here: www.mass.gov/ago/grants.
A conference call will be held June 22, 2018 at 11:00 AM. Although the call is not mandatory, potential applicants are strongly encouraged to join.
Applicants with disabilities who seek reasonable accommodation, which may include the receipt of the RFP information in an alternative format, must communicate such requests in writing to AGOgrants@state.ma.us no later than June 29, 2018.
The 2018 edition of “Where We Live” has been released by AARP and the publication that features livability and Age-Friendly projects from across the country highlights some of the exciting work happening in Massachusetts.
Among the local projects and initiatives is the fact that Massachusetts is among the first in the nation to be designated as an Age-Friendly State. The Age-Friendly Boston effort led by the city’s Elderly Commission also shows up several times throughout the book.
Here is a list of some of the Massachusetts-based efforts featured in the 2018 edition:
Jamaica Plain Co-Housing – subsidizing the use of subway passes to discourage the use of personal vehicles.
The City of Boston, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Alzheimer’s Association of MA/NH and other organizations are sponsoring the first “Memory Sunday” event in the Northeast on Sunday, June 10th.
The idea behind Memory Sunday is that every church, on the 2nd Sunday in June each year will openly address the problem of Alzheimer’s disease to increase awareness and promote existing resources. The City of Boston and other event organizers are inviting people and representatives of faith communities to attend this year and next year do it in their own places of worship.
Berea Seventh-Day Adventist Church (108 Seaver Street, Dorchester MA)
Memory Sunday provides information about prevention, treatment, research, and caregiving for Alzheimer’s disease. Its purpose is to draw national and local attention to the impact of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias on communities, to use the power of the pulpit to raise awareness, and to support people living with the disease and their caregivers.
This effort came directly out of the city’s Age-Friendly listening sessions when people said knowing where the public restrooms are would make them feel more comfortable getting around town.
According to the Elderly Commission, this is not meant to be an exhaustive list. The map represents a “first round” focused on the restrooms the City of Boston maintains in case there are service requests. The Elderly Commission is planning to expand the list to include others such as facilities owned by the state as well as those in publicly owned private spaces (POPs) and others.
Press coverage of these maps showed up (thus far) in the following publications:
In its third year, The JAHF Business Innovation Award showcases the achievements of community-based organizations (CBOs) that are successfully partnering with health care entities to improve the lives of older adults and people with disabilities. It is more important than ever to identify and highlight innovative and effective programs that help people receive medical, social and behavioral services in a coordinated way that improves their health outcomes.
Qualified submissions will exhibit pioneering partnership models that are making transformative strides towards a system of integrated care.
The award, which will be presented at n4a’s 43rd Annual Conference in Chicago, IL in July, will include a plaque and monetary award of up to $5,000. Nominees will be notified of the results prior to the conference.
This June, the Alzheimer’s Association is working hard to promote Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. This year their focus is highlighting the critical importance of early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.
Locally, The Alzheimer’s Association of MA/NH is seeking help to spark change and raise awareness in local communities. Please visit http://www.alzmassnh.org/ourtown to receive a free toolkit to support the effort.
On the “Our Town” website, there are also links on how cities and towns can become both Age- and Dementia Friendly. For more guidance on aligning the two movements, the Healthy Aging Collaborative suggests the “Better Together” Report from AARP and communities can contact MHAC for more details.
While receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is devastating, there are many medical, financial, emotional and social benefits to receiving an early diagnosis – not only for the person living with the disease, but for their caregivers and family members as well.
The journey toward diagnosis, however, is often complicated by barriers which delay or prevent diagnosis. These include: denial, fear, anxiety, stigma, and lack of disease awareness, failure to recognize warning signs, and difficulty initiating conversations about cognitive decline – even when family members know something is wrong.
Alzheimer’s is complicated, but having a conversation about it doesn’t have to be.
New findings from an Alzheimer’s Association survey reveal common concerns and a hesitation to act when faced with approaching a family member or friend about Alzheimer’s disease.
A majority of Americans would be concerned about offending a family member (76 percent), or ruining their relationship (69 percent), if they were to approach that person about observed signs of Alzheimer’s.
More alarming, 38 percent said they would wait until a family member’s Alzheimer’s symptoms worsened before approaching them with concerns.
Additionally, nearly 1 in 3 Americans (29 percent) would not say anything to a family member despite their concerns.
One of the most common barriers to early diagnosis is a lack of communication between family members.
Close family members are typically the first to notice memory issues or cognitive problems, but they are often hesitant to say something – even when they know something is wrong.
Initiating conversations over concerns about a family member’s memory or cognition problems can be difficult, but doing so can address concerns before a “crisis situation” arises and help put the individual and family on a better path for managing disease-related challenges.
Have the conversation as early as possible – Ideally, it’s best to talk about the Alzheimer’s warning signs with a family member or friend before they even occur, so that you can understand how someone would want you to approach them about it. However, many people aren’t planning for Alzheimer’s before it happens. If you’re noticing signs of dementia, start a conversation as soon as possible, while mental functioning is at its highest and before a crisis occurs.
Think about who’s best suited to initiate the conversation – There might be a certain family member, friend or trusted advisor who holds sway. Consider asking this person to step in and plan around how to have the most supportive and productive conversation.
Practice conversation starters – The following phrases can help broach the conversation.
“Would you want me to say something if I ever noticed any changes in your behavior that worried me?”
“I’ve noticed a few changes in your behavior lately, and I wanted to see if you’ve noticed these changes as well?”
Offer your support and companionship – Seeing a doctor to discuss observed warning signs of Alzheimer’s can be a frightening experience. Let your family member or friend know that you’re willing to accompany them to the appointment and any follow-up assessments. Offer your continuous support throughout the diagnosis process.
Anticipate gaps in self-awareness – It can be the case that someone showing the warning signs of Alzheimer’s is unable to recognize those signs in themselves. Be prepared to navigate confusion, denial and withdrawal, as people may not want to accept that their mental functioning is declining.
Recognize the conversation may not go as planned – Despite your best intentions, a family member may not be open to discussing memory or cognitive concerns. They may get angry, upset, and defensive or simply refuse to talk about it. Unless it’s a crisis situation, don’t force the conversation. Take a step back, regroup and revisit the subject in a week or two. If they still refuse to get help, consult their physician or the Alzheimer’s Association for strategies that may help.
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