Today, June 15th, is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, offering an opportunity for all of us to join a global chorus calling for more awareness and action to end all forms of elder mistreatment.
As a clinician with expertise in caring for older adults, I have made elder mistreatment a priority in my research and practice. It is a common and even deadly problem, but it all too frequently goes undiagnosed and unreported. It has also too often been ignored as the true public health concern that it is.
An estimated one in ten older Americans suffer elder mistreatment, defined as physical, psychological, or sexual abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, or abandonment. I’ve seen it in clinical practice; we sometimes see it in the news. It is horrifying and awful, yet there is much we can immediately do to protect older adults, support their family caregivers, and prevent abuse and mistreatment from occurring.
We are very pleased to announce five new grants totaling $4.8 million approved by The John A. Hartford Foundation Board of Trustees in June that target critical gaps that exist in providing comprehensive, age-specific, coordinated care to older adults and their families.
Each of these exciting projects supports the work of innovative organizations and individuals, and all relate to emerging priorities that we see as critical over the next several years.
Through a new initiative that brings together national leaders in the move to improve home-based primary care, we are bridging the gap in care for the frailest, sickest homebound elders for whom house calls could be a saving grace. We are also addressing important gaps in health care policy related to palliative care, hospital admission status, and oral health through outreach, education, and advocacy. And through a potentially game-changing partnership with Kaiser Health News (KHN), we are addressing the gap in high-quality news coverage and public understanding about the complex issues of health care delivery and its impact on older adults and their families.
JAHF President Terry Fulmer, left, showed Kathrin Lozah the connection between passion and innovation during Lozah’s six-month internship.
Working in a setting that has a diverse group of people with differing backgrounds, education, and experiences who are passionate about what they do creates the ideal habitat for innovation. That is something I learned very quickly in my time working as an intern at The John A. Hartford Foundation over the past six months.
The variety in the skill set of the JAHF staff creates the perfect environment for developing multidisciplinary teams, fostering partnerships, and improving overall creative potential. Degrees and education among the staff members vary significantly, ranging from RNs to MPAs, PhDs to MPHs, and many more.
Editor’s Note: Today, we welcome Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Ellen Goodman, co-founder and director of The Conversation Project, to Health AGEnda. The Conversation Project is part of a $3.5 million John A. Hartford Foundation grant approved in March supporting an exciting collaborative of six practitioners who will work cooperatively to expand the availability and improve the quality of advance care planning and end-of-life care. Since it was launched in 2010, The Conversation Project has focused on helping families and friends talk openly about their wishes for end-of-life care in a way that makes sure those wishes are not only expressed, but respected.
When we launched The Conversation Project, we knew the importance of encouraging people to express their wishes for end-of-life care before there was a crisis. In a survey we did, people often gave the same excuse for not having the conversation: “it’s too soon.” To which we always replied, “It’s always too soon, until it’s too late.”
There is nothing that shows the wisdom of that statement more than the terrible experiences of families and friends whose loved ones suffer from Alzheimer’s and other dementias. We—and my family is part of that “we”—often feel tragically unable to have these important conversations after someone we love goes into cognitive decline.
Each year, staff of The John A. Hartford Foundation look forward to May and the annual scientific meeting of long-time grantee and partner, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). This year’s meeting in Long Beach, CA will once again offer us the chance to showcase the work of grantees, learn about the latest advances in aging and health research, meet with colleagues in the field, and celebrate those who have made important contributions to improving care for older adults.
Wally Patawaran’s mother, Emma, in Seville, Spain, before her first stroke.
“My mother understands everything we’re saying.”
My brother was addressing the latest home health aide, giving her an orientation. She nodded on cue, but it seemed clear that she was giving this latest assignment a look-over before signing on. She could have been forgiven for wondering about the truth of the statement.
In December 2015, nearly 100 John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts gathered in Philadelphia, PA to identify challenges and opportunities for improving care of older adults in several care settings and issue areas. Each group worked toward identifying actionable areas for John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts, the Foundation, and colleagues in the field to pursue. The brief below represents the summary of the Home and Community-Based Care group’s proceedings and should inform future work to create widespread and systemic changes in the care of older adults.
In 1965, the Older Americans Act set in motion a new network of largely community-based social services and supports to help older adults remain healthy and independent, living in their homes and communities as long as possible.
On April 19, 2016, after legislation garnered bipartisan support from both houses of Congress, President Obama signed the latest and long-overdue reauthorization of the Older Americans Act. This is great news for millions of older adults, and truly a cause for celebration as we embark on Older Americans Month in May. This year’s theme, appropriately enough, is “Blaze a Trail.” And it is one that resonates deeply with all of us at The John A. Hartford Foundation, given our own trailblazing work in improving the care of older adults.
In December 2015, nearly 100 John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts gathered in Philadelphia, PA to identify challenges and opportunities for improving care of older adults in several care settings and issue areas. Each group worked toward identifying actionable areas for John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts, the Foundation, and colleagues in the field to pursue. The brief below represents the summary of the Institutional Long-Term Care group’s proceedings and should inform future work to create widespread and systemic changes in the care of older adults.The final issue brief in the series will be published onHealth AGEnda in the coming weeks.