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November 23, 2004 > City Of Fremont Human Services Department and Tri-City Elder Coalition Receive Grant to Improve Local Services for Older Adults

City Of Fremont Human Services Department and Tri-City Elder Coalition Receive Grant to Improve Local Services for Older Adults

by Mary Anne Mendall

The Tri-City Partnership for Older Adults was selected to receive a $150,000 grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its Community Partnerships for Older Adults (CPOA) national program. Over the next 18 months, the City of Fremont Human Services Department and the Tri-City Elder Coalition will develop plans for improving long term care and supportive services systems that will respond to the current and future needs of at-risk older adults in Fremont, Newark, and Union City.

CPOA challenges partnerships to build on their experience, share and learn from other communities, and help shape state and national policy as solutions are developed and implemented for the future. The Tri-City Partnership for Older Adults was one of eleven communities - ranging from rural to urban - selected from a field of 486 applicants to receive the development grants.

The Tri-City Partnership includes the City of Fremont Human Services Department and the Tri-City Elder Coalition, which is comprised of seniors, local health care providers, elder care facilities, providers of senior services, and policymakers with an interest in issues related to seniors.

"The local elder population will grow and become increasingly diverse as the 'Baby Boomers retire," said Mary Anne Mendall, Fremont's Aging and Family Services administrator. "This grant is an incredible opportunity to develop a roadmap so that when the age wave hits, we are ready. The approach that will best address the growing number of older adults is one that engages all sectors of the community, not just government, and one that values the wisdom and experience that elders have to offer."

The project will work to:
Develop a 10-year action plan to ensure elders in the Tri-Cities will have access to a rich continuum of preventative, acute, and chronic care services. The plan will pay special attention to the needs of a culturally diverse senior population, medically fragile elders, and the baby boomer wave of seniors.

Involve "informal" service providers, including ethnic and cultural organizations and faith communities, in the Tri-City Elder Coalition, the planning process and the provision of services to the community.

Conduct a series of focus groups with members of the baby boom generation to identify new strategies to meet their future needs "There is no quick fix for improving the current long term care system," said Jane Isaacs Lowe, Ph.D., senior program officer at The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "It takes the coordinated planning and effort of a whole community to change the way long term care is viewed and provided."
As a development grantee, the Tri-City Partnership will have the opportunity to compete for a four-year, $750,000 implementation grant to actually create the activities described in their plans and pursue additional resources to sustain them.

"A national renaissance of community involvement is underway to improve long term care and supportive services systems, and our grantees are at the forefront," said Elise J. Bolda, national program director. "They understand the importance of taking action, and that communities can develop the solutions to improve the lives of older adults."

The CPOA projects focus on two groups of older Americans: those 60 years of age or older who are at increased risk of disability because of poverty, race or ethnicity, chronic illness, or advanced age; and older adults with physical or cognitive impairments who require long term care and supportive services.

The projects seek to:
Educate the community that long term care begins at home and in the community with individuals and their families.

Work together with older adults to develop community-wide long term care solutions.

Build bridges between the long term care options that exist today and those of the future.

Learn locally from their community and share nationally with others to develop solutions for long term care and supportive services systems.

The Community Partnerships for Older Adults program is based at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service. The Duke University Long Term Care Resources Program provides technical assistance for the program, under the direction of Beverly S. Patnaik. More information about the Community Partnerships for Older Adults program is available on the program's website at: http://partnershipsforolderadults.org

 
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