Seniors get personalized access to food from Store to Door/MAAA partnership
Nutrition is an important determinant of health in people older than 65. An 18-year partnership between MAAA and Store to Door has literally “put food on the table” for thousands of older adults living in the Twin Cities.
Store to Door is a nonprofit organization in Roseville, MN. With the help of more than 500 volunteers, Store to Door provides regular personal contact and access to nutritious food for elders who physically can’t shop on their own. “The support from MAAA has allowed Store to Door to deliver food and other essential items that help seniors remain in their homes, choosing what to eat and when to eat it,” said Mary Jo Schifsky, former Executive Director.
Store to Door volunteers deliver more than just groceries. They provide people personalized, reliable access to their shopping choices, making it easier to maintain life at home.
In 2014, MAAA’s awarding of Older Americans Act funds to Store to Door helped support 12,446 deliveries to 598 seniors. Of these, nearly 90 percent live alone and more than 50 percent are 80 and older. Gladys is 89 and has been a Store to Door client for 3 years. “This service helps us stay in our homes. Food is a necessary item and this has been wonderful for me.”
Addressing Alzheimer’s impacts on many fronts
In Minnesota, 89,000 people age 65+ live with Alzheimer’s disease and the number is growing. And, 245,000 Minnesotans are caring for family members with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
Professionally, MAAA is active on many fronts in addressing the impacts of Alzheimer’s and in supporting the older adults, families, and friends touched by the disease. As an advisor to metro communities working to become dementia friendly, MAAA consults with and assists the communities in implementing a four-phase Dementia Friendly Communities Toolkit developed by ACT on Alzheimer’s. MAAA also helps communities integrate health care and community services to improve care coordination for people with dementia and their caregivers. Calls to the Senior Linkage Line® about memory loss issues result in connections to supportive resources. Dawn Simonson, MAAA Executive Director, said, “Older adults count on MAAA to engage in meaningful partnerships with the Alzheimer’s Association and other fine non-profit aging services providers in our community to maximize resources and pursue innovation that helps people live safely and securely in their communities.”
Personal connections are also part of MAAA’s work with Alzheimer’s. In late September, 2015, more than 25 MAAA staff and their family members participated in the Alzheimer Association’s “Twin Cities Walk to End Alzheimer’s.” The MAAA team raised more than $2,000. Hannah Fox and Rachel Von Ruden were staff organizers for the Alzheimer’s walk. Rachel noted, “I wanted to be involved in the walk because my grandmother has dementia, and I’ve witnessed firsthand the devastating financial and emotional effects of the disease.” Hannah’s family has been affected by Alzheimer’s, too, and the walk was a great opportunity to show support. In her words,“It was powerful to hear firsthand from individuals with Alzheimer’s, caregivers, and those who have lost a loved one. It was empowering to be surrounded by so many people all supporting the same cause.”
Many MAAA staff members have been trained as volunteer Dementia Friends and Champions, which touches the workplace as well as the neighborhoods where staff live. Addressing the impacts of Alzheimer’s is an ongoing issue for all communities, and MAAA will continue to be a working partner and advocate for older adults living with dementia and their caregivers.
Living Well workshops now reach Spanish-speaking older adults
Helping people take back control when living with the effects of chronic health conditions—such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression—is the goal of the evidence-based program, Living Well With Chronic Conditions. Since 2011, local organizations have received training and support from MAAA to offer this workshop in their communities and foster healthy aging.
In August 2014, funding from the Minnesota Department of Human Services made it possible for MAAA, in partnership with the Wilder Community Center for Aging, to organize the first Minnesota leader training for Tomando Control de su Salud (the Spanish version of the workshop). The training was hosted by Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES) in Minneapolis. Leaders from CLUES, Centro Tyrone Guzman, NorthPoint Health and Wellness, and CommonBond completed the training.
In May, 2015, Centro’s Sandra Reyes and Susana Rodriguez conducted the very first Minnesota offering of Tomando Control de su Salud. Sandra noted, “Chronic diseases have increased in the Latino community in recent decades for various reasons, such as poor nutrition, stress, limited access to health care services, and limited education about prevention and treatment. The Tomando Control de su Salud program is an excellent tool to educate the community about how to manage symptoms and, in many cases, prevent other symptoms from appearing.” She added, “Centro Tyrone Guzman is committed to continue sharing this knowledge with our community, and we believe firmly that education is the first step toward empowering Latinos to be proactive in preventing and managing chronic disease.”
MAAA trains leaders and collaborates with community based organizations to implement several other evidence-based programs to foster healthy aging for a lifetime.
Tomando Control de su Salud: Hector’s Story
When Hector was diagnosed with diabetes, the doctor explained very little about the chronic disease. After the appointment, Hector simply continued the unhealthy behaviors that had led to the onset of diabetes. Fortunately, he was able to participate in Tomando Control de su Salud. Through the workshop, he began to truly understand diabetes, as well as the personal responsibility he had in controlling the chronic disease. He and his wife attended the six-session series together. His wife had not been diagnosed with a chronic illness, but her participation was critical. She could encourage Hector to make smart decisions and sustain behavior changes that would help control his condition and prevent future complications. Together with 13 other participants, the couple learned how to read food labels, control portion sizes, and make healthy eating choices. They have incorporated exercise into their daily routine, and they are encouraging others to participate in the program. Most of all, they feel fully engaged in their own health and well-being. (Story contributed by Centro)
Who’s aging in your neighborhood?
Shaping census data into a usable format is no easy task. When Amy Moser from the Saint Paul Advisory Committee on Aging asked MAAA for guidance in making “the numbers case” for age-related policy considerations in St. Paul, the Lifetime Communities staff team knew exactly who to bring together. Leveraging relationships with the State Demographer’s Office and Minnesota COMPASS, the team (Kate Houston, Nan Just, Dave Fink) conceived a thought-provoking workshop format with real world application for Amy and colleagues engaging in similar work across the metro area. The tools and expertise provided have served as a launching pad for the Saint Paul group as it works to impact the City’s comprehensive planning process for housing in creating good outcomes for older Saint Paulites. Learn more about MAAA’s Lifetime Communities.
First responders need resources at their fingertips
Maintaining an independent life at home as long as possible is a common wish of older adults. First responders can help fulfill this wish when they have resources at their fingertips. When a member of MAAA’s Outreach team presented to the fire and police departments in Dakota County and Carver County, the Senior LinkAge Line® was an unknown. After the presentation, SLL became a resource centerpiece the first responders could use. Learn more about how MAAA assists older adults and family caregivers.
Seniors are the
winners from an
As Brittani Schmidt of the Minneapolis Health Department worked on a Healthy Homes initiative, one charge was to produce a senior-focused resource guide for use by professionals., Brittani met with an MAAA Outreach team member, who pointed out the limitations of a printed guide that could not be revised as information changed. He suggested having a page referencing the Senior LinkAge Line® and the MinnesotaHelp.info® website so users could have direct access to current resource information. The resource guide is still widely used and helpful to the residents of Minneapolis. Learn more about MAAA outreach partnerships.
What’s routine for one is powerful info for another
Helping people navigate the Medicare system is an everyday routine for MAAA Health Insurance Counseling volunteers. Whether talking with someone in person or on the phone, volunteers turn confusion and questions into positive actions. A handwritten letter to MAAA called out one long-time volunteer as “a real asset for the Senior LinkAge Line®. She answered all of our questions regarding medical insurance in Minnesota. We admired her excellent knowledge of the matter. We are cordially grateful for her great help and patience in dealing with us.” Learn more about how MAAA assists older adults and family caregivers.