Healthy Aging: Community Engagement/Prevention Work Group
January 17, 2014, 1:00-2:30 p.m., County Office
Present: Jenn Chang, Ann DuCharme, Carol Kenney, Peter Meleney, Judy Miller, Paddy Moore (Co-Chair HATF), Judy Miller, Marjorie Peirce, Nevette Previd, Ann Smith
Unable to Attend: Betty Burton, Nicole Cabot, Marc Daniels, Sam Hart, Martina Thornton
Paddy Moore, the Co-Chair of the Healthy Aging initiative, was a great resource to the Group and provided guidance and fielded questions throughout the meeting.
Materials Distributed: Agenda; Updated CE.P Members; Work Plan; Draft Working Framework by Carol Kenney; Research and Comments by Ann DuCharme
Introduction of New Members and Membersí Comments: Carol Kenney introduced Jenn Lynn Chang, who spoke about her work, including her Tuesday/Friday 5:30 p.m. walking groups, health coaching, cooking classes, as well as the health-nutrition programming/classes at MV Partnership for Health. Marjorie Peirce, who represents the faith community and leads the community suppers at the West Tisbury church, described her current effort to bring Harvest of the Month, nourishing recipes and recipe cards to community suppers. Marjorie is also introducing at West Tisbury a new community fellowship time prior to each community supper and exploring with Marc Daniels the possibility of a pilot “Angel Driving Program” to provide, through the faith community, transportation for
seniors who no longer drive. Nicole Cabot, who was unable to attend, is the Island Grown Schools coordinator at the West Tisbury School. Nicole plans to teach cooking classes at the new West Tisbury library and represents the IGS network for future Healthy Aging intergenerational initiatives.
Members of the CE/P Work Group then, in turn, introduced themselves to the new members and described their organizationsí work, something that sparked group discussion and idea exchange.
Working Framework for Goal-Setting: Mindful of memberís professional demands, tight schedules and the pressure for the Group to develop short-and long-term goals for HATF by the announced February 15 deadline, Carol Kenney constructed and discussed with members her draft framework for group focus, information gathering, brainstorming, and goal-setting. Carol also mentioned her recent meetings with a group of older women in the community who, inspired by the new book Grandmother Power, hope to find ways to contribute to the community, particularly by working with young children. [Perhaps Grandmother Power could be developed as a subset of a broader volunteer initiative.]
Ann DuCharme discussed the summary she sent to the Group, as well as her insights gained by surveying four Councils on Aging, VMCS, Windemere, the Center for Living, as well as Gardner and Hope Dementia. Ann felt that, given the growing, fluid, well-educated, and changing MV elder population, that a needs assessment is critical. Ann also felt that there are many intergenerational possibilities for Community Engagement that can be built and expanded upon from existing MV resources; that there is a need for these to be better coordinated and publicized; and that outside models, given the unique character of MV, may not be very helpful. To be successful, programs must be welcoming; a warm, welcoming atmosphere may be more important even than program content.
Need for Communication/Access to Information Online: Ann Smith felt that communicating arts/cultural offerings was one of her most difficult challenges, requiring many venues…newspapers, brochures, and online. Peter Meleney suggested MVTV as a major resource that could be utilized more effectively, especially for elders who are not computer savvy. A major topic was the need for a Healthy Aging website as a repository for information about arts/cultural/educational programming and also information about nutrition, health, and prevention.
Paddy cautioned that a new “One-Stop” website would require time and funding and is not something that our Work Group can hope to see for some time. It is possible that programming information could be posted in the interim through the Health Council or the Donorsí Collaborative websites. This is something that needs further research. Meanwhile, computer literacy is being widely addressed: Most town libraries are currently operating one-on-one computer assistance. Edgartown has developed a computer literacy initiative between the library and the Edgartown Council on Aging.
Other Comments: The Councils on Aging are all different; all seniors should be able to feel welcome using the services of them all (Ann DuCharme). ACE is moving to the Mayhew Center in Vineyard Haven. (Judy Miller). Judy would like to see a needs assessment to help ACE with future planning; perhaps, too, a study to include the educational needs of the business community (e.g., should ACE provide courses for plumbers and electricians, etc., to help the Island grow its own vital services and retain young talent?)
Needs Assessment: A needs-assessment would provide information about the communityís housing, transportation, health, etc., needs, but it brings other benefits. It would raise community awareness and it would send the message, “We care about you!” . The CE/P would like any broad Healthy Aging assessment to include arts/culture, as well as the draft food “barriers” survey written in 2012, that was never implemented.
Concluding Comments: Carol Kenney asked the group to continue their information gathering about existing resources and forward findings to her to include in the framework. She also asked the Group to think before the next meeting about several questions: What information about existing organizations should be added to the draft framework? What goals should be added, deleted, and retained? Paddy Moore suggested that the Group focus on goals that can be easy-to-achieveó“early wins.” Paddy also reminded the group that developing “fall prevention” programming should have a high priority, and that it will require marketing and outreach.
Next Meeting: Friday, January 31st, 1-2:30 p.m., County Office.