Healthy Aging: Community Engagement/Prevention Working Group
Minutes of Meeting, Friday, December 6, 2013, 1 p.m., County Office
Present: Peter Temple, Betty Burton Marc Daniels, Carol Kenney, Peter Meleney, Judy Miller, Ann Smith, Martina Thornton
The meeting opened with Peter Temple describing the role of the seven Healthy Aging Work Groups and how the work plan that each group develops will be organized under the Task Force Coordinating Committee to promote cooperation and prevent duplicative effort among Groups. Peter also mentioned that various resources, including the Rural Scholars Healthy Aging October 2013 presentation, are now available on the Donors Collaborative website, www.mvdonors.org
A general discussion among members followed that covered various topics under the CE/P Working Group purview, including the food pantriesóthe problems of both access and food quality and quantityóas well as access issues to various existing cultural resources such as the Film Center and adult education programs at the libraries. Needed are improved public transportation and parking. While the group recognized that providing adequate food is an important ingredient for Healthy Aging, most members felt that community engagement and social connection through the arts and education is an essential component ranking as a priority alongside adequate, accessible, and affordable food.
The Group discussed whether, when constructing goals, if efforts should be targeted to groups with the greatest needóthe idea being that people who are housebound are most in the need of cultural programming and social connection. Countering the idea of targeting groups, members then discussed the advantages of intergenerational programming to allow groups across the age spectrum to mix and learn from each other. In the end, the general feeling of the members was to advertise and offer programming with no specific groups in mind.
To be able to understand what is now in place and what gaps and needs exist, as a potential first step, Ann Smith suggested that we reach out the various groups who serve the aging - Woodside, Councils on Aging, churches, the libraries, Featherstone, the Film Festival, etc. for a description of their resources and programming. Then, hope to be able to fund a needs-assessment survey of these groups.
The group discussed, perhaps as a long-term goal, the possibility of building on and enhancing the existing cultural/educational/exercise “hub” created by Featherstone, Woodside, the high school, YMCA, and skating rink (“One-Stop Culture, Education, and Exercise”). Developing more cultural and educational programming at the high school beginning around 3 p.m. could help older folks who do not drive at night; create more intergenerational programming and educational opportunities; and create the volume of traffic to justify frequent public transportation service to and from this “hub.”
The Group also discussed whether community awareness of existing cultural programs is a problem. The Calendar section of both newspapers is excellent, but members felt that these calendars are too time-sensitive and ñlimited; they do not help individuals make long-term plans for future events and educational/cultural opportunities. It was suggested that the Group explore the Activities section of the Center for Living website. Perhaps this format could be expanded upon and a “one-stop activities/education” site could be created. Then, this information, which could be updated on an ongoing basis by provider groups, could be printed in hard copy each week in the local newspapers.
Carol Kenney distributed two separate work sheets, one for Community Engagement and one for Prevention, for members to use as they think/brainstorm, both individually and in subgroups, about short term and long term goals. [These work sheets were derived from the Work Group Template designed by Peter and Paddy Moore.] The Group considered meeting in smaller groups as well as a whole to be able to focus on specific areas of our broad mission.
Prevention--many short-term goals are already in place, based on Nevette Previdís excellent work as Program Director of Mass in Motion, so the short-term goals for Prevention piece of the Groupís is already somewhat defined. With this in place, the Group may focus more effort on long-term prevention goals in such areas education (diabetes prevention, etc., perhaps through classes and website posts) and exercise (additional programs through the Y? ACE? and expanding bike and pedestrian paths, etc.)
Community Engagement--many resources exist and are currently active. It was felt that the immediate need is to poll the existing organizations and then plan a needs-assessment survey. More work may need to follow to improve community awareness, as well.
It was also suggested that a member of a Council on Aging join the Work Group. Carol Kenney, Ann Smith, and perhaps Ann DuCharme will follow up on this idea.
Ongoing individual efforts of members:
Betty Burton: Working on expanding SNAP and improving, through posters and education, the quality of individualsí food donations to the food pantries.
Ann DuCharme: Connecting with Councils on Aging; Center for Living; and MV Community Services to explore what exists; what is needed; gaps in service.
Marc Daniels: Investigating resources; needs; and gaps among local churches and faith organizations.
Carol Kenney: Exploring bike/pedestrian improvements and education; classes and posting information via website on prevention and Healthy Aging topics.
Peter Meleney: Considering ways to offer his expertise in mediation through teaching and direct one-on-one work.
Judy Miller: Thinking of ways that the Groupsí efforts might fit with ACE and support its sustainability.
Ann Smith: Polling existing “players” in the culture/arts group and senior support network to assess existing resources; needs; and gaps with the hope of a needs-assessment survey when information gathering is completed.
Martina Thornton: Supporting Healthy Aging through the broad County umbrella, extending to Mass in Motion programming, including bike/pedestrian path initiatives.
The Group as a whole: Since transportation is a major problem related to getting people to the important activities and resources on Island that relate both to Community
Engagement and Prevention, the CE/P work group will provide a list of service gaps/specific problem needs (e.g., Family-to-Family food pantries; access to adult education; arts and culture offerings) to the Transportation Group.
Ann Smith and Carol Kenney will attend the Coordinating Committee scheduled for Thursday, December 12, 4 p.m. and VNA.
The Group set a tentative date to meet again on Friday, January 17, 2014, at 1-2 p.m. at the County office. Hopefully the date will not have to be changed due to the Martin Luther King holiday weekend.