Human Services Department Projects Receive Aging Achievement Award from National Association of Area Agencies on Aging

Two County of Sonoma Human Services Department Adult and Aging Division programs serving seniors have been honored for their innovation with an Aging Achievement Award by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a).

The LGBTQI Seniors Connection Program and Sonoma Collaborative Care Project were among 52 aging programs to receive honors at the n4a Annual Conference and Tradeshow, July 29–August 2, 2017, in Savannah, GA.

The 2017 n4a Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards, supported by WellCare, recognizes Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and Title VI Native American aging programs that develop and implement cutting-edge approaches to support older adults, people with disabilities and their family caregivers. A part of the criteria for the selection of the honorees was the ease with which other agencies could replicate the program in their communities.

“Both Sonoma County programs reach underserved LGBT seniors and connect them to helpful local services, including health care and housing, and provide opportunities to engage them in their community,” says Adult and Aging Division Director Ana Bagtas. The Adult and Aging Division is the umbrella agency for the Sonoma County Area Agency on Aging, which administers and delivers multiple evidence-based programs for older adults throughout Sonoma County.

Now in its second year, the LGBT Seniors Outreach Project supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults in two ways:

1)      with the creation of a countywide, LGBTQI Information & Assistance resource program they can contact for referral to helpful community resources and assistance

2)      and through programs at three local senior centers that increase their connection to the community services that ease the challenges of aging.

While LGBT seniors face the same challenges of aging of all Sonoma County seniors, LGBT seniors have the added layers that have resulted from a lifetime of discrimination and lack of recognition of their relationships. They are less likely to have the support and safety net that are essential to healthy aging.

The programs are supported by the LGBTQI Giving Circle Fund of the Community Foundation of Sonoma County and the Sonoma County Human Services Department Adult and Aging Division.

The second program honored by n4a, the Sonoma Care Collaborative Project (SCCP), is a partnership between the Petaluma Health Center and the Sonoma County Human Services Department Adult and Aging Division funded by the Archstone Foundation, is also in its second year. The program combines clinical care and case management in the identification and treatment of depression in older adults to create an innovative Collaborative Care model that treats older adults in the health clinic and in their own homes.

 

The model, based on the Care Partners: Bridging Families, Clinics, and Communities to Advance Late-Life Depression Care project, has been shown to increase patients’ success in their depression management. The key to the success of this program is the person-centered multidisciplinary team that works with individuals. Using data and outcomes from the SCCP, the Collaborative will engage additional, ongoing funding sources, including Medi-Cal and Mental Health Services Act funding, to create a sustainable, scalable model of care for Sonoma County.

 

“With the health care landscape continuing to change rapidly, our members are discovering new ways to position themselves in the long-term and health care marketplaces, as well as to strengthen long-standing services, to meet the needs of America’s rapidly growing older adult population,” said n4a’s Chief Executive Officer Sandy Markwood. All winners are showcased in an n4a publication.

 

About n4a

 

The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) is the leading voice on aging issues for the 622 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) across the country and a champion in our nation’s capital for the 256 Title VI Native American aging programs. n4a’s primary mission is to build the capacity of our members so they can help older adults and people with disabilities live with dignity and choices in their homes and communities for as long as possible. (www.n4a.org / www.facebook.com/n4aACTION)