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North Idaho consortium receives grant to improve long term care and supportive services systems

Coeur d'Alene, ID – North Idaho Linkages Caring for Older Adults, a consortium of North Idaho College Aging and Adult Services, Region 1 of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and the Panhandle Health Department, was selected to receive a $150,000 grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its Community Partnerships for Older Adults (CPOA) national program. Over the next 18 months, the grant will allow North Idaho Linkages Caring for Older Adults partners to develop plans for improving long term care and supportive services systems that would respond to the current and future needs of at-risk older adults in the five northern counties of Idaho. CPOA challenges partnerships to build on their experience, share and learn from other communities and help shape state and national policy as solutions are developed and implemented for the future. Northern Idaho was one of 11 communities – ranging from rural to urban – selected from a field of 486 applicants to receive the development grants. Pearl Bouchard, director of NIC Aging and Adult Services, said the project will expose community leaders to research and best practices, create a greater understanding of the unique contributions and growing needs of older adults and help the region create a vision about its future for senior residents in the identified goal areas. “It will also afford us the opportunity to expand and build upon existing collaborative efforts,” Bouchard said. The project will identify methods that will lead northern Idaho toward: · improved service delivery by coordinating and building on the assets that currently exist; · improved training, job satisfaction, and advancement opportunities for the long-term care workforce; and · coordinated access (information, client records and outreach) to long-term care and supportive services. “There is no quick fix for improving the current long term care system,” said Jane Isaacs Lowe, Ph.D., senior program officer at The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “It takes the coordinated planning and effort of a whole community to change the way long term care is viewed and provided.” As a development grantee, North Idaho Linkages Caring for Older Adults will have the opportunity to compete for a four-year, $750,000 implementation grant to actually create the activities described in their plans and pursue additional resources to sustain them. “A national renaissance of community involvement is underway to improve long term care and supportive services systems, and our grantees are at the forefront,” said Elise J. Bolda, national program director. “They understand the importance of taking action and that communities can develop the solutions to improve the lives of older adults.” The CPOA projects focus on two groups of older Americans: those 60 years of age or older who are at increased risk of disability because of poverty, race or ethnicity, chronic illness or advanced age, and older adults with physical or cognitive impairments who require long term care and supportive services. The projects seek to: • educate the community that long term care begins at home and in the community with individuals and their families; • work together with older adults to develop community-wide long term care solutions; • build bridges between the long term care options that exist today and those of the future; and • learn locally from their community and share nationally with others to develop solutions for long term care and supportive services systems. The Community Partnerships for Older Adults program is based at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service. The Duke University Long Term Care Resources Program provides technical assistance for the program, under the direction of Beverly S. Patnaik. More information about the Community Partnerships for Older Adults program is available on the program's Web site at: http://partnershipsforolderadults.org.

For More Information
NIC Aging and Adult Services Director Pearl Bruno Bouchard, (208) 667-3179

Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2004

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