Age Well CT recently participated in “A Community Conversation”, an important event led by Connecticut’s State Unit on Aging (SUA). This regional event was also supported by the Western CT Area Agency on Aging and was hosted by the Newtown Senior Center. The purpose of the event was to open a dialogue to get direct feedback from the community about various topics of importance. The feedback will be used to inform the State Unit on Aging’s new three-year strategic plan which will encompass services for older adults in Connecticut, with an emphasis on programs funded by the Older American Act.
This event was part of a series of SUA Community Conversations being held around the state to ensure that the plan includes priorities important to our older residents. At these events, community participation and feedback is very much encouraged, and this event included a lively exchange of ideas and insights from the audience.
The meeting was led by Erin Soli, Department of Aging and Disability Services Field Representative and Statewide Coordinator for the Senior Medicare Patrol, with fellow Field Representative Saundra Leubner. They presented information about the Older Americans Act and initiatives to improve the lives of older adults in our state. The event included very helpful information from the SUA team and input from the community. This was all very well-received by the packed audience who attended, a mix of older adults, staff from several area senior centers, service providers, and state and local officials. The event was supported by the Western Connecticut Area Agency on Aging and Michael Derber, the agency’s executive director Michael Hebert was introduced.
Some things we learned that we’d like to share with our readers:
The Older Americans Act provides federal funding to states, which are then distributed through the State Unit on Aging to the regional Area Agencies on Aging and then to local agencies who provide services to older adults, their caregivers, and families.
Funding is allocated toward important programs such as:
- Supporting Caregivers (including grandparents)
- In-home supports and services
- Prevention and health promotion
- Mental health support
- Connecting to local services
- Congregate meals and home delivery
- Legal assistance
The current state goals focus on 5 key pillars:
- Empower individuals to reside in the community setting of their choice
- Expand income and assets for older adults through job training, CHOICES, and Medicare savings programs
- Provide older adults with prevention and wellness opportunities
- Prevent elder abuse and protect rights
- Medicare protection program to protect against fraud and abuse
The presenters posed several questions around key areas of interest to older adults and facilitated a discussion about challenges that are faced in the community. Topics included affordable housing, transportation, fraud protection, wellness, mental health, financial security, food insecurity, access to information, and insurance. The participants offered diverse insights and contributed to this thoughtful dialogue and collaborative exchange of ideas. There was consensus that a key goal is to find “out of the box” creative solutions for the challenges faced.
Learn More: To learn about the Connecticut State Plan on Aging, “Growing Older Together”.
To share your comments, you can contact the State Unit on Aging:
State Unit on Aging
Department of Aging and Disability Services
55 Farmington Avenue, 12th floor
Hartford, CT 06105
For more information about Resources, programs, and services, visit our Resource Center.