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Partnerships for Healthy Aging in Place

Partnerships for Healthy Aging in Place

About Partnerships for Healthy Aging in Place

Every person deserves to live in a community where they can stay active, engaged, and healthy with dignity and enjoyment. This is especially important as we age. Older adults need a place that supports healthy aging and aging in place so that they can continue to live and thrive in their community. And as we discovered in 2020, socio-political and environmental context can significantly exacerbate the issues older adults and other vulnerable communities face. For this reason it is even more important that people of all ages have the adequate access and support that they need.

The Partnerships for Healthy Aging in Place project in Allapattah was funded by the Aetna Foundation and was a collaboration between Urban Health Partnerships, YMCA Allapattah, and Community Health Workers (CHW’s) to:

• Engage older adult residents of Allapattah

• Empower residents to identify barriers and opportunities for active aging in place

• Develop a mini action plan that outlines key strategies that can be implemented at the target location

• Connect residents & YMCA with local organizations to address barriers and opportunities

• Utilize CHWs to engage residents and connect them to resources and opportunities

• Increase community support and engagement among residents

Over the past two years, UHP and the YMCA worked collaboratively to:

• Hire two older adult CHWs and train them

• Conduct outreach in the community

• Develop an implementation and evaluation plan

• Host walking audits, engagements, and community events to begin to address community needs.

• Adapt to the changing social and health contexts of our times and establish updated ways to support older adults during time of high need.

In total, 29 events were held with over 382 participants attending (these are not individual participants but a total number of attendees, some participants attended multiple events), including walking audits of three different routes in the Allapattah community, presentations from partner experts on the different domains of livability, and other local businesses and organizations.

In addition to the in-person events, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, UHP shifted its focus to virtual outreach to the community. Outreach focused on check-ins around COVID-19 and resources, as well as census outreach to promote participation. This was conducted by Community Health Workers via texts, phone, email and social media. As a result of the network of UHP and YMCA, Allapattah residents were able to be connected with important information and resources to assist them during the pandemic.

A comparison of baseline and post-survey responses on questions related to how age-friendly respondents found their community showed an increase in perceptions of age-friendliness. Survey respondents reported:

• An increase in confidence that they would be able to find help and support in their community as they age, with 47.7% (n=31) of pre-survey and 85.6% (n=77) of post-survey respondents reporting they were somewhat or very confident.

• An increase in confidence that they will be able to stay in their community as they age, from 30.8% (n=20) at baseline to 84.4% (n=76) at evaluation feeling somewhat or very confident.

• An increase in feelings of positivity or optimism about the future, from 56.9% (n=37) at baseline to 100.0% (n=90) at evaluation, despite the impact of COVID-19 on their lives and the uncertainty of the future.

• An increase in feeling that their community offers older adults a good quality of life, from 80.0% (n=52) at baseline to 95.6% (n=86) at evaluation.

• An increase in feeling connected to neighbors, from only 20.6% (n=14) at baseline to 75.6% (n=68) at evaluation feeling somewhat or very connected.

• Additionally, a majority of baseline respondents, 41.5% (n=27), went from feeling neutral about advocating for age-friendly initiatives and opportunities in their community, to a majority, 84.4% (n=76) feeling somewhat or very confident about advocating for changes.