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COVID-19 Solutions Showcase Sessions

n4a’s annual Conference and Tradeshow is the one conference that professionals in the Aging Network shouldn’t miss. In addition to great workshops and Fast-Track sessions, this year's virtual conference will feature more than a dozen on-demand sessions, highlighting some important insight in our COVID-19 Solutions Showcase.

 

Preview the COVID-19 Solutions Showcase on-demand sessions here:

 

 

Tech Savvy Seniors-Utilizing Senior Friendly Technology

Focus Area: Addressing Social Isolation/Promoting Social Engagement

During the COVID-19 pandemic, older adults felt the effects of isolation and loneliness much deeper than other cohorts. AAAs wanted to find a way to connect with them using technology, but only about 25 percent of our consumers used or had any access to smart technology or internet services. Presenters will share what GrandPads are and the simplicity that comes with older adults using them, even with zero to very little technology background. AAA presenters will talk about the many services and programs that have continued with the use of GrandPads, such as meals, exercise, education and connecting with family and friends. Presenters will share their innovative ways of using the GrandPad technology to connect with our seniors, caregivers and those with disabilities.

Presenters:
Stacia Timmer, Chief Operating Officer, Elderbridge Agency on Aging, Spencer, IA [biography]
Sherrie McDonald, Director of consumer Services, Connections Area Agency on Aging, Council Bluffs, IA [biography]

 

Creative Strategies to Combat Food Insecurity One Rural Community

Focus Area: Cutting-Edge OAA and Caregiver Programs

In New York, the COVID-19 pandemic spurred innovation, especially around the delivery of nutrition services for older adults amidst a tremendous increase in demand. Learn how one rural county changed its services almost overnight to meet the need while keeping older adults as safe as possible.

Presenter:
Mary Ann Spanos, Director, Chautauqua County office for Aging Services, Mayville, NY [biography]

 

ADRC Care Coordination Expansion During the Pandemic

Focus Area: Cutting-Edge OAA and Caregiver Programs

COVID-19 entered the world in a whirlwind, having disastrous effects on many and killing hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. alone. ADRCs were left to figure out how to best serve their populations—among the highest at risk. By responding to the surge of calls and their level of urgency, and by implementing new policies and procedures for a rapid increase in staff capacity, the Baltimore City AAA rose to the occasion and exceeded expectations. Presenters will share their unique journey, challenges and strategies that were utilized to expand ADRC care coordination for older adults and people with disabilities during the pandemic.

Presenters:
Chrystle Samuels, Director of Constituent Services, Baltimore City Health Department, Division of Aging & CARE Services, Baltimore, MD [biography]
Imani Graham, Information & Referral Specialist, Baltimore City Health Department, Division of Aging & CARE Services, Baltimore, MD [biography]

 

Critical Delivery Services - Food, Groceries and Other Vital Necessities

Focus Area: Best Practices in Healthy Aging

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the California Safer at Home Initiative, the aging population has an increased need for timely delivery services. The Los Angeles County Department Of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) launched a temporary delivery program called Critical Delivery Services to deliver food and other vital items to individuals who are unable to leave their homes due to COVID-19. Delivery services are limited to those who are aged 60 years or older and/or have a temporary or permanent disability. Groceries, household items and other vital necessities, as well as emergency food boxes, are delivered to eligible clients. Individuals can receive up to four deliveries or 40 miles worth of deliveries per month. Items can be ordered by phone or online.

Presenter:
Kimberly Madison, Human Services Administrator I, Los Angeles County WDACS / Adult Protective Services, Los Angeles, CA [biography]

 

Technology and Human Touch Helping Our Older Adults' Social Isolation

Focus Area: Addressing Social Isolation/Promoting Social Engagement

COVID-19 shone a spotlight on our nation’s older adults and a more glaring look at their problems as a result of isolation. Whether at home or in a facility, and with either family or themselves quarantined, older adults have faced being alone to a degree not experienced before in modern times. Bringing together an Aging Life Care Professional® and director of a therapeutic activity program to talk about the mental and physical implications of social isolation, presenters will discuss how detrimental this is to older adults, and how it can be mitigated. Looking at quality-of-life initiatives combined with simple use of smart technology, isolated adults can experience better social engagement. Emerging apps and products deployed thoughtfully can help reduce loneliness in partnership with public and private systems.

Presenters:
Kari Rogenski, Director, The Hummingbird Project - Sage Eldercare Solutions, Millbrae, CA [biography]
Anne C. Sansevero, Nurse Care Manager, Founder and CEO, HealthSense LLC [biography]

 

When We Can't Meet Face-to-Face: Virtual Friendly Visitor Program

Focus Area: Addressing Social Isolation/Promoting Social Engagement

Social isolation kills. Although this is a strong statement, research continues to validate social isolation's negative impact on health. It significantly increases a person's risk of premature death and various health conditions (i.e., heart disease, stroke, depression, anxiety and suicide). The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this problem due to measures taken (stay at home orders; social distancing) to mitigate the spread of the virus. The number of older adults who are socially isolated has increased exponentially, with many of them being severely isolated. How do we build social connections for older adults that can continue beyond the pandemic? The use of technology may be the answer. Presenters will share information detailing steps taken to build a Virtual Friendly Visitor Program serving older adults in the community and facilities.

Presenters:
Barbara Gordon, Director of Community Engagement, University of Louisville Trager Institute, Louisville, KY [biography]
Pam Yankeelov, Director of Research, University of Louisville Trager Institute, Louisville, KY [biography]

 

Aging Mastery Program During Covid-19

Focus Area: Addressing Social Isolation/Promoting Social Engagement

Aging Mastery Program (AMP), an evidence-based program created by the National Council on Aging, is an engagement and behavioral change program designed to educate, encourage and support older adults to take actions to improve their health, finances and general well-being and to contribute more to their communities and the society. AMP consists of core and elective classes that combine evidence-informed materials. The program is for 10 sessions, with each week having a specific topic of discussion. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, LA County and City conducted the AMP online with great success. The participants have learned how to use online resources to master the aging process.

Presenter:
Guillermo Medina, Human Services Administrator, Los Angeles County Area Agency on Aging, Los Angeles, CA [biography]

 

Healthy IDEAS: Supporting Older Adults with Depression and Loneliness

Focus Area: Addressing Social Isolation/Promoting Social Engagement

The COVID-19 pandemic has been the perfect storm for depression, social isolation and loneliness among older adults. Social distancing and the digital divide have added barriers to reaching many vulnerable and underserved older adults. Healthy IDEAS is an evidence-based depression management program for older adults. Older adults are shown the link between mood and activity and how completing tasks and increasing meaningful activities can improve their mood and overall health. Healthy IDEAS training is available remotely and the program can be implemented with older adults via computer or telephone. Presenters will share information about the Healthy IDEAS program, how they transitioned the program from in-person to virtual, and sustainability opportunities for contracting with payers.

Presenters:
Nikki Kmicinski, Executive Director, Western New York Integrated Care Collaborative, Inc., Buffalo, NY [biography]
Tim McNeil, Independent Health Care Consultant, *, GA [biography]

 

Nevada Ensures Support Together: The Power of Community during COVID-19

Focus Area: Addressing Social Isolation/Promoting Social Engagement

To combat the social isolation that is negatively impacting health and raising mortality during COVID-19, the Nevada Aging and Disability Services Division—Nevada's state unit on aging—convened more than 30 aging and social services organizations to form The NEST Collaborative (Nevada Ensures Support Together). Together, NEST Collaborative partners opened virtual, volunteer-hosted social and technical support opportunities for elders, veterans and adults living with disabilities, including one-to-one calls, peer social groups and telephone-based technology assistance. With a collaborative approach contextualized within a "nothing about us without us" framework, The NEST Collaborative represents the future of social support. This session will outline the NEST Collaborative's process, celebrate its successes, and provide resources for replication. It will close with an engaging documentary of volunteer and participant testimonials.

Presenters:
Casey Acklin, Program Coordinator, Dementia Engagement, Education, and Research Program; School of Community Health Sciences; University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV [biography]
Samantha Savalli, Graduate Research Assistant, Dementia Engagement, Education, and Research Program; School of Community Health Sciences; University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV [biography]

 

Redefining Community: How JABA Congregate Programs Re-Emerged during COVID-19 Crisis

Focus Area: Addressing Social Isolation/Promoting Social Engagement

A hug, a hearty handshake and big bright smiles are part of the warmth and character of the JABA Community Senior Centers (CSC). When COVID-19 struck, program operations halted and these elements vanished. This propelled JABA managers & Center staff to quickly redefine these critical programs while incorporating these components. The newly developed At Home with JABA Program captures what is distinctive and critical about their congregate Community Senior Centers and delivers it creatively while utilizing various mediums of connectivity, delighting all involved. Workshop participants will learn how these congregate CSC programs pivoted on a dime to deliver programming, meals and most importantly, joy and community during a time when isolation was a requirement and will offer guidance on how this can be implemented in your own agency.

Presenters:
Emily Foreman, Manager of Senior Nutrition Programs, JABA, Charlottesville, VA [biography]
Donna Baker, Director of Operations, Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA), Charlottesville, VA [biography]

 

No Cash - Just Creativity: Delivering Food to Residents with Disabilities

Focus Area: Best Practices in Healthy Aging

Due to COVID-19, older adults and people with disabilities have experienced barriers to accessing food while staying at home. The San Diego AAA’s rapid community assessment indicated that younger adults with disabilities, not eligible for its senior nutrition program, needed food. Senior meal programs were nearing capacity and some older adults needed unprepared food. Although the agency didn't have funds to pay for grocery delivery, they partnered with several organizations to quickly bring together in-kind resources and implement a food box delivery program. Through this creative collaboration, they delivered food to more than 1,000 vulnerable residents, and gathered buy-in from partners to sustain the program. Learn how you may use their successful strategies in your community when the next emergency strikes.

Presenter:
Kristen Smith, Chief, Health and Community Operations, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Aging & Independence Services, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Aging & Independence Services, San Diego, CA [biography]

 

COVID-19 Lessons Learned - HINDSIGHT 20/20

Focus Area: Strategies to Strengthen Systems and People

At this unprecedented time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Atlanta region's Area Agency on Aging was called to respond to new challenges and demands impacting older adults and people with disabilities. The agency determined how to use both existing funds and the COVID-19 response funds (from the Families First and CARES Acts) to mobilize a fast and effective response. This session will share the trials and tribulations of this effort and how the agency might strategize differently for creative solutions to increase its effectiveness in response to future community emergencies.

Presenters:
Sue Burgess, Assistant Director, AAA, Atlanta Regional Commisssion, Atlanta, GA [biography]
Cara Pellino, Program Manager - Access to Servicesider Network, Atlanta Regional Commisssion, atlanta, GA [biography]

 

Senior Nutrition Program Innovations in a Post-Pandemic World

Focus Area: Cutting-Edge OAA and Caregiver Programs

Meeting the goals of the Older Americans Act nutrition program was definitely challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is fair to say that “business as usual” has forever changed. During the pandemic, ACL Innovation in Nutrition Programs and Services grantees had to pivot their projects, including the Texas Congregate Meal Initiative. Hear from the City of San Antonio AAA—which is participating in this collaboration between a state agency on aging, a university and AAAs—as they develop promising practices to consider as you redesign your future nutrition program.

Presenters:
Yolanda Perez, Human Service Administrator, City of San Antonio, Department of Human Services, Senior Services Division, San Antonio, TX [biography]
Judy Simon, National Nutritionist, Office of Nutrition and Health Promotion Programs, Washington, DC [biography]