Making Martha's Vineyard an Aging-Friendly Island
Dear Healthy Aging Readers,
As July winds down, I want to take this opportunity to bring attention to the
extraordinary work of the 86 (and counting) volunteers who are helping to make Martha's Vineyard a "Healthy Aging Community." This includes members of the Oversight Committee and the Executive Committee, yes; but this summer's heroes are the many women and men who are members of our Working Groups.
It is amazing to see so many people willing to meet, think together, generate new ideas and new approaches to solving the problems identified through our
last fall. The four key priorities are :
- Aging in Community (Housing both for elders and those who care for them and modifications to keep elders in their homes);
- Challenges in Health and Mental Health (Falls Prevention, Geriatric Education for all health care workers; better access to primary and specialty care, including mental health and substance abuse) and Home Care;
- Transportation - both volunteer and on-demand transportation possibilities to meet the needs of island elders; and
In each of those areas, volunteers are working hard to collect data, research best practices elsewhere, including costs and resources, compare strategies, and come up with recommendations for action. Those recommendations, will comprise a Community Action Plan, to be presented, discussed, and hopefully adopted this coming autumn.
We thank each and every one of our extraordinary volunteers. We're grateful for their energy, wisdom, and commitment - whether for two meetings to share their ideas or two months to complete this phase of the project. THANK YOU is not adequate, but it is from the heart.
Paddy Moore, Chair, Healthy Aging Martha's Vineyard
The project elements promoting this aim are:
- A long form nationally broadcast Public Television documentary
- A fully built-out interactive and social networked website
- A multi-year public engagement effort to be launched just prior to the broadcast
- The video below is an introduction to our project.
- PLEASE ENJOY AND FORWARD TO OTHERS.
We are so pleased and happy to have found Leon L. Haley, a wonderful Consultant Planner, who has been working with HA-MV for several months. He is a long-time member of the island summer community and brings an impressive background of working with non-profit agencies to improve the lives of our most vulnerable citizens. Thank you Leon !
Leon L. Haley
is currently a Professor Emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh, where he formerly served in several capacities, including Vice Chancellor for Student and Public Affairs, Associate Professor of Public Affairs, and Founder and Director of the Nonprofit Clinic in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.
HA-MV to Join a Global Network of Aging Friendly Communities
On July 26th HA-MV was excited to submit our application - signed by the Boards of
Selectmen from all six island towns - to become members of the World Health Organization's (WHO) global network of Aging Friendly Communities. This program is administered in the United States through AARP, (American Association of Retired Persons). In addition to the honor of being one of the few communities recognized (there are only seven in Massachusetts), we'd be the only Island in the country.
||World Health Organization WHO
What Are the Benefits?
- Access to a global network of participating communities, as well as aging and civil society experts.
- Access to research, reports and guides about making communities age-friendly best practices, results of others' experiences, new initiatives.
- Access to funding - as many local and national foundations that specialize in older adults see WHO recognition as a great plus when applying for grants.
What Are the Requirements and Responsibilities?
- Establish mechanisms to involve older people. HA-MV has done this both through the strong representation of elders in HA-MV itself, through the Senior Survey, through the membership of our Working Groups, and through our corps of Senior Advocates.
- Conduct a baseline assessment of the age-friendliness of the community. We've already done this through the Senior Survey last fall - and a renewed huzzah and thanks for all of you who made our response rate 49%!
- Develop and submit a community-wide action plan based on the findings of the assessment. Based on the Survey results, the HA Oversight Committee chose four priority areas on which Working Groups are now concentrating to develop detailed plans, strategies, and indicators to measure progress. Their work will be woven into a community-wide action plan this fall, which will be discussed in every town and finally submitted to WHO for review and endorsement.
- Implement the plan and review/evaluate its performance over a three-year period.
- Submit a progress report to WHO based on the plan's success, revising it as necessary and then implementing it for another three years. This cycle of continuous improvement is at the core of HA's work, and we believe will help keep the island's focus on the needs of elders as new initiatives in housing, health and support services, and transportation occur.
If you are interested in joining a Working Group or simply becoming a Senior Advocate -- speaking up at town meetings or hearings on zoning changes, new services, housing initiatives, writing Letters to the Editor, etc - please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Karen at (508) 693-1627.
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Brain Benefits of Optimism
March 2016 edition of Health Wire in Consumer Reports
In a recent Yale School of Public Health study, people who hold the most positive views on aging were the least likely to develop brain changes associated with Alzheimer's disease. By contrast, autopsies conducted through the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging determined that the brains of people who had felt the most pessimistic about growing older in the decades before they died developed higher concentrations of Alzheimer's-related plaques and tangles. The researchers say having a positive attitude toward aging could ease stress that may contribute to the development of Alzheimer's disease.