Nov. 2-PAC report, part 1 – Aging in place.

The meeting was called to order at 6:15   17 attenders

Linnea Tweed, Director of Vital Living Program  from East Side Neighborhood Services talked about some of the services available to help Eastsiders age in place. 

East Side Neighborhood Services is a centerpiece of  NE Minneapolis.  It’s been serving the East Side for over 100 years.  It continues to be a place where people find support to solve immediate needs or to engage strategies to achieve self-sufficiency and stability. They have broadened their territory recently and  now offer services  in 46 locations across Hennepin County.   ESNS offers programs for people from 6 weeks old to the end of life.   Children receive education that targets Kindergarten readiness, young people develop the skills and social responsibility  that they need to succeed in school and life, and adults of all ages make connections that support health and holistic well-being.

Vision Statement:  Every person thrives and every voice matters.  One of the ESNS strategic priorities is to build an interrgenerational community that values and respects everyone, increases understanding and engagement, and focuses on health and well-being for all generations. This is something we’ve started reframing; it is actually a family project   It’s based on the concept that everyone is aging.  Because aging affects everyone if should be looked at from an intergenerational lens.  

The Vital Living Program creates access to community-based  services for older adults.  Among its goals are to preserve  individual choice and control; to identify and stabilize risk factors; to connect older adults to services and resources; to extend community living and maintain quality of life;  to increase social engagement and reduce social isolation. 

Looking at the statistics,  87% of adults 65 and over  want to stay in their home and community.  Maintaining one’s social and physical health is something all of us can do to meet that goal.  Social connections play an important role in health and can decrease the risk of death by at least 50%; falls are a leading cause of fatal injury and a common cause of non-fatal trauma leading to hospital admissions among older adults;  about  80% of older adults have at least one chronic condition and at least 68% have 2 or more, creating a burden for individuals and for the healthcare system. 

How does the Vital Living Program supports its goals?  It works to develop, expand, and sustain services that are critical to maintain community living for older adults and their caregivers.  We work to grow partnerships with housing providers  to expand healthy aging programs in residential communities.  We work with other programs to develop intergenerational programming.  Ms. Tweed and a colleague have presented programs in the Monroe Village Apartments and at other buildings that have larger numbers of residents over age 65 including a popular program, “A Matter of Balance”,  a story-sharing program, exercise classes,  and disease self-management classes.   Because transportation can be an issue, ESNS brings programs out into the community, but ESNS can also provide transportation to the central building from Southeast, Northeast and Near North neighborhoods.

The “Juniper” flyer lists 9 evidence based classes developed to connect people with neighbors, to build confidence, and to increase people’s ability to live a full and healthy life.   [QUESTION – What is an “evidence-based” class?   ANSWER –   it is a class that has been developed, usually by a University or a research agency.  They use testing to determine what impact a class or exercise actually produces — the criteria are stringent — the simplest explanation that they measure what someone’s targeted ability was when they started the class and if (or how much) that changed by the end.]  Attendees of the Juniper courses will learn methods to live well despite health challenges,  to get more exercise, and to have support for managing chronic health issues.

“Vital Living with East Side” is a flyer on help for caregivers  – An  ESNS program, NE Day Spot is a safe and fun place where the person who needs assistance can make new friends and take part in activities while their caregiver has a temporary respite to handle personal errands or just have some private down-time. At the same time, the program provides a social opportunity for the person who needs assistance. Seeing only the same person day after day is a source of stress.  NE Day Spot is open every Friday from 10 am to 2 pm, pre-assessment is required.  There is also a support group for caregivers that meets every 3rd Friday of the month, 10-11:30am, which is the same time as a NE Day Spot session.

Additional programs include intergenerational engagement opportunities.  We are pulling some young people in with older adults working on activities and  projects together.   

Linnea shared a few items from future presentation by the Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging for its 2019 Summit where an important topic will be state funding for long term services.  It’s not good news.  Right now the funding is Medicare and Medical assistance;  to get that, you must be a Minnesota resident, have a Social Security Number, and meet some other criteria.  We’re finding that lower income people have financial support through Medicade, while upper income people have enough money of their own to afford the programs.  It’s the middle income people who are struggling to get this kind of help.  [With a nod to Jim Drake of Southeast Seniors who attended]  That is what makes programs like Southeast Seniors so important — they are sources of help for middle income people.

The Minnesota Council on Foundations reports that only 00.8% of private philanthropy is designated for  aging services.  Right now ,people are more interested in investing in an 8 year old than in an 80 years old.  That can be looked at as failing to support previous investments.  People also look at investing in social services from the Return On Investment (ROI) lens and often believe that youth investments promise a higher ROI. 

Minnesota Gerontological Society has monthly webinars on various topics.  This month’s was on home modification, learning the difference between “accessible” and “universal home design” and related topics.  It looked at finances: how much should one consider investing in a home to make it accessible?  Does a plan or design make financial sense?  To know how to make those decisions, whether  or not to invest in your current home.  Handouts are being developed by Lifetime Home Project in St. Paul, including resources, financial planning and more.  This will be on the Lifetime Home Project website early next year. 

On December 11, Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging is holding a summit  sponsored by AARP and others to engage in information exchange and action planning around an Age-Friendly Minnesota.  One question being looked at is: How we can utilize current best-practices to develop a statewide plan.   

Ms Tweed  learned from working with Mill City Commons (a community which is based on the “Village” model started in Boston) that health programs work best in “community” — people living in community developed social networks that attracted more people wanting to be part of that network.  [Another shoutout to Southeast Seniors for developing an amazing program.]  Although it doesn’t have a Block Nurse program as Southeast Seniors has, Northeast Seniors does have a very good program located in Columbia Heights serving that suburb and NE Minneapolis. 

For more information about ESNS, go to www.esns.org  at the top, find the “Our Programs” and click on that, then scroll down to Older Adults    Some insurance companies are supporting some of the healthy aging programs.  Right now, BCBS and Health Partners are reimbursing East Side for some of the costs.  They see the programs as preventive care.

Questions:  Snow shoveling:  heard on the street is that those services are filled up.  How can we provide that service for more people?  Linnea:  great question but I don’t have a great answer.  There is  “Senior Community Services” which provides chore services like snow shoveling, light housekeeping, yard services in Northeast.  They are not taking new clients because they don’t have enough shovelers.  When volunteer shovelers weren’t enough, they started paying people $15 an hour and still couldn’t get enough people.  They worked with schools trying to tie into programs that are offered in the schools, but have to be really creative about providing transportation and so on.    Many youth in the ESNS programs don’t have cars, and their families may not have stable housing. Some kids have not lived in a house, so do not know how to care for one. 
QUESTION  we have had a person who was slipping cognitively.  She has  family nearby, but her friends didn’t know the family, and didn’t know whom to call to discuss the situation.  ANSWER  Right now, if you are concerned about a person’s safety, know that it doesn’t matter if your concern is about hoarding, self-neglect, neglect by others, OR actual abuse by someone, report what you’ve seen by phoning MINNESOTA ADULT ABUSE  REPORTING CENTER at 1-844-880-1574

This switchboard is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Know that  Minnesota encourages good faith reporting of suspected maltreatment by any person, including self neglect.  Your name will never be revealed, but you will have the assurance that someone who has special training and  understands this kind of situation will make contact for a meeting and do some level of assessment.  The person you are concerned about will have the freedom to decline assistance as long as a situation doesn’t violate health rules. 

[EQ:  I have copies of the “Juniper” flyer and the “Vital Living with East Side” to share.  Contact me for copies.  Ms Tweed also left me a 2-page list of publications about “aging in place”.  Some  are from AARP, ASSIST and other organizations and all of them are available through your public library.]

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