The proportion of older adults with unmet care and support needs continues to grow significantly as care systems face significant problems in the United States of America. Although 20% of older adults aged 60 and over use home- and community-based support and health services, many older Amerian’s and their families have a vague understanding of what is available for older adults.

Addressing these unmet requirements is quickly becoming a top public health priority.

This week’s episode of This Is Getting Old features Part 4: Community Support and Health Service. This episode is of the 10-part AARP/ Age-Friendly Social Innovation Challenge.

Watch the full episode or listen to the podcast to learn more about community support, health services, and programs specifically designed for older adults.

Key points covered in this episode:

✔️ What are Community Support Services? Community supports are local services; such as an active intergenerational community center or a recreational center. These services and locations make it easier for older adults to connect and build community ties.

✔️ What are Health Services? Health services include primary care providers, mental health services, substance abuse and treatment programs, preventive and health maintenance programs, rehabilitation programs, pharmacy services, and dental care – to name a few.

✔️ What Worries June? Hear Maria Teresa McPhail, MD President & CEO At Vida Senior Centers’ present a scenario developed by our Design Thinking Team about June.

June is 84 years old and a retired accountant. She lives in an area considered a “food desert,” and she’s afraid of COVID, even though she’s fully vaccinated. When she runs low on groceries, the nearest grocery store that sells affordable, fresh groceries is seven miles away; she had no other option but to travel.

June’s Problem Statement: Dr. Maria Teresa McPhail elaborated that June needs a way to access fresh and healthy food, socialize with other people because she has transportation barriers, lives alone, and has COVID-19 concerns.

Community Support and Health Services – Innovative Solution For June: The team came up with “Creating Community Through Food” as an innovative solution for Community Support and Health Services for older adults like June.

Creating Community Through Food is a weekly, seasonal intergenerational cooking class.

What it does is;

  • Offer outdoor cooking classes in the summer and virtual cooking sessions in the winter.
  • Through this program, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) brings local foods and includes a “know your farmer know your food” component.
  • It also includes transportation to the outdoor site, and volunteers will participate in developing peer-to-peer support.
  • Volunteer high schoolers and college students involved can gain service hours.
  • Healthcare institutions see the program as a potential to recruit for career paths in long-term care and involve dietician students.
  • Essentially, the program encourages adults and older adults to attend in person to refer them to other resources based on need and be involved in senior centers that may have existing similar programs.

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About Melissa:

Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN. I am a nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse educator and nurse researcher with over 25 years of experience in the aging and long-term care healthcare space. You can visit my website at MelissaBPhD.com to learn more about me, how you can work with me directly,
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