Healthy Aging in Strong Communities
November 2021
NH Alliance for Healthy Aging: A Collective Approach to Supporting Older Adults
Jennifer Rabalais, MA, Co-Director, Center on Aging and Community Living (CACL)

The NH Alliance for Healthy Aging (NHAHA) brings together partners working in the field and those who are passionate about supporting older adults – including older adults themselves. They are working together to create communities across New Hampshire that are great places for all of us to live as we age. Our collective approach is to change the conversation about aging across all sectors of the community, change public policy to promote a strong, stable infrastructure for aging, and change practice across public and private sectors to improve care and support for older adults, their families and their communities. AHA is increasingly gaining visibility among policymakers, journalists, advocates, municipalities, caregivers, and older adults who call the Granite State their home.
Advocacy on the Ground:
Policy Wins in the Field of Healthy Aging
A Q&A with Heather Carroll, Advocacy Director, NH Alliance for Healthy Aging

Our community partner, the NH Alliance for Healthy Aging (NH AHA), works to make New Hampshire a great place to live as we age. NH AHA works to promote policies that increase opportunity and equity for older adults and reduce barriers that make it difficult to access services and resources to address basic needs, support physical and mental wellbeing and stay connected with our communities. Learn about the many policy wins garnered in this Q&A with NH AHA Advocacy Director Heather Carroll.

Q. In the midst of such a challenging time, how is the NH Alliance for Healthy Aging able to deliver so many policy wins?

Heather: People are starting to get used to the fact that the NH Alliance for Healthy Aging (NH AHA) is an entity working on issues that matter to older adults. Through AHA, we were able to put forward ideas on how to use incoming federal funds, reflecting community needs that we uncovered in listening sessions with the people who were actually delivering care. These are family caregivers trying hard to piece it together – often struggling to maintain a job and a home while caring for someone who may need 12 to 24 hours of support. That’s a challenge at any time and especially during the pandemic.

We're looking at different ways to engage with the NH Department of Health and Human Services, with the Commissioner, and with our elected officials in a time when it’s not necessarily safe to ask our advocates to come in person. We’ve strategized and found ways to conduct listening sessions, having calls directly with our legislators, postcard campaigns, and call-in actions, for instance. We're going to be doing some videos of folks who want to participate in the process and are fighting to have virtual access to their government. That's probably going to be our number one platform this year: access for all.

We’ve also been forging some cool partnerships with the public health and the disabilities communities, as well as with working moms, childcare providers, and teachers. People were able to participate in the process last year and our advocates were very excited. We helped each other across fields and got great results. We got items through the budget that we probably would not have been able to do if we didn't have that direct line of communication.
Good Health and Realized Potential for All