On Wednesday, November 8th, Sandy Magaña, professor at Steve Hicks School of Social Work at University of Texas at Austin and Co-PI of the Family Support Research and Training Center (FSRTC), presented at the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) Caregiver Workgroup. Professor Magaña talked about FSRTC goals, collaboration partners, and the different research projects that the FSRTC research team are conducting. To access the presentation slides please click here: Part 1 & Part 2. The other presentation featured the National Aging Services Network.

National Agencies Network: Livable Communities for All Ages

National Aging Service Network provide multiple services for families of older adults. There are 622 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) that collaborate in planning, development, coordination, and delivering a wide range of long-term services and support. Services that are provided by AAAs include; elder rights caregivers, nutrition, health and wellness, and supportive services.

The importance of providing LTSS for older adults stems from the increasing needs of this population. The number of people who are 65+ years old is constantly increasing and it is estimated to reach 92 million nationwide, an increase of about 47% since 2012 (43.1 million individuals were 65+ years old based on the U.S. Census Bureau).

Example of nationwide programs offered through AAAs:

The Eldercare Locator National Call Center: www.eldercare.gov
The Eldercare Locator National Call Center was established in 1991 by the AoA and it serves as a trusted gateway to accessing information and resources that are crucial to one’s health and well-being. Approximately, 3 million people have been connected to local programs and services that are relevant to their needs. In 2016, 72% of consumers across the nation were older adults asking for services themselves and majority were female (73%). Multiple services were requested such as transportation (20%), home and community-based services (21%), and housing options (9%).

Dementia Friendly Communities
Dementia Friendly Communities is an initiative that aims at increasing quality of life for people with dementia and care partners, awareness of dementia, adoption of dementia friendly practices across community sectors, access and options to community life, rates of detection/diagnosis, and reduce fraud, abuse, and neglect. For example, communities can organize memory café, or virtual dementia experiences to promote dementia and provide a friendly and supportive atmosphere for the family.

Currently there are 24 active states who are involved in the Dementia Friendly America (DFA) initiative. The initiative combines different agencies, such as local businesses, banks, community-based organizations, and local government, which work collaboratively to ensure a friendly community. Phases to establish community toolkits include 1) convening key community leaders and members to understand dementia, 2) engaging key leaders to asses current strengths, needs and gaps, 3) analyzing the needs to determine community goals in relation to issues stakeholders are motivated to act on, and 4) ACT together to implement the goals via a designated plan that include ways to measure progress.

The Action Team typically involved in the establishment of community toolkits include: employers/ human resources, community members, Caregiver support providers, social service agencies, Transportation providers, Legal & financial planning, Health care community, health care community, local government, residential settings, and adult day programs.

Dementia Friends USA www.dementiafriendsusa.org is a global movement that is underway to USA. It was established in the UK and it aims at changing the way people think, act, and talk about dementia. This program engages individuals in the dementia friendly movement and will advance DFA goals by:

  • Raising awareness and reducing stigma
  • Encouraging the adoption of dementia friendly practices
  • Engaging individuals through training and participation in an online community