2011 Annual Report / Healthy Aging

Healthy Aging

The population of older adults in the U.S. will nearly double to 71.5 million by 2030. NYAM is at the forefront of the movement to make New York City—and cities around the nation and the world—age-friendly and fully prepared to meet the needs of this rapidly growing and increasingly diverse older population. NYAM's innovative approach to healthy aging begins with conversations with older adults to understand what makes it harder or easier for them to live healthy and active lives in their communities. Utilizing this critical knowledge, NYAM works with community, business, and academic leaders and elected officials to create policies, programs, and environments that will enable older adults to live longer, healthier lives and stay fully engaged in their communities, contributing their rich experience and expertise.

Age-friendly NYC, NYAM's partnership with the Mayor's Office and New York City Council begun in 2008, continued to deepen and expand its impact in 2011. In addition to the current East Harlem and Upper West Side Aging Improvement Districts, NYAM provided technical assistance to the launch of a third program inBedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn in partnership with the Coalition to Improve Bedford-Stuyvesant and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).

NYAM also conducted an Age-friendly Retail Initiative throughout the city, offering marketing materials and guidelines for businesses in English and Spanish on how and why to become more age-friendly. To date, the program has enrolled more than 1,000 businesses across all five boroughs of NYC, securing their commitment to meet the needs and desires identified by older adults, who are an important segment of their customer base.

The new technology work group of the Age-friendly NYC Commission has begun engaging leaders in the field of technology and communications, including Older Adult Technology Services (OATS), in efforts to develop content and products for older adults.

A rapidly expanding older adult population requires a growing social work workforce. NYAM's Social Work Leadership Institute (SWLI) has partnered with the John A. Hartford Foundation since 2000 on the Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education (HPPAE) to meet this growing and critical need. Eleven new HPPAE funded and non-funded normalization programs were launched in 2011, for a total of 2,669 students educated in 88 MSW programs nationwide. In 2011, SWLI established a new partnership with the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which offers a significant number of stipends to MSW students. By securing stipends for MSW students placed at VHA-developed Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Centers (GRECC), this initiative will increase the number of graduates that are concurrently enrolled in HPPAE. In addition to support from the Hartford Foundation, this endeavor also receives support from the MetLife Foundation.

Additionally, ten deans and directors of schools of social work attended the Leadership Academy in Aging (LAA) begun by SWLI and the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work (NADD) in 2008. The program serves to increase the number of social work deans and directors with leadership skills and an awareness of the significance of educating students around issues affecting older adults. Participants are provided an opportunity to learn from each other about how to better manage challenges they are facing. To date 43 deans and directors have participated.

As the Affordable Care Act (ACA) moves towards further implementation, the National Coalition on Care Coordination (N3C), co-chaired by SWLI and the American Society on Aging (ASA), continues to monitor and support legislation that will increase access to and use of care coordination. The work of the N3C is made possible through generous support from Atlantic Philanthropies. Over the past year, N3C members and workgroups helped educate stakeholders, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) staff, and congressional members on the importance of care coordination through public hearings, policy briefs, and conference appearances, including an all-day symposium at the 2011 ASA Annual Aging in America Conference, "Linking the Social and Medical Models Through Care Coordination in the Aging Network." In May, SWLI staff joined several NYAM Fellows Sections for a day-long symposium supported by the The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation focusing on interdisciplinary team care coordination as a basis for identifying best practices and the characteristics of good clinical sites for training future practitioners.

Testimonials

"I get a lot of older adult customers and I think [the Age-friendly Retail Initiative] is a great initiative because it empowers the elderly and lets businesses know what they can do to improve service to them."
-Pervez Siddiqui, pharmacist, Healthways Pharmacy and Surgical, Brooklyn

"[HPPAE] students have obtained positions in gerontology post-graduation and have started to assume leadership roles within the community as gerontological social workers. In essence, they answered the call to become emerging leaders in geriatric social work." 
-Faculty coordinator of HPPAE at a participating school of social work