Ten organizations have each received $25,000 grants to learn how to apply design thinking to reimagine how they might address the needs of older adults and caregivers in western and central New York. The funding is part of Aging by Design, a four-year initiative developed by the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York to improve the health of older adults.
By using Design Thinking, Aging by Design uses an approach to problem solving that puts the needs of older adults and the problems they may be experiencing at the core. The process brings older adults, informal caregivers and community-based providers together to identify issues, generate ideas and implement solutions to address triggers of decline. Triggers of decline precipitate a decline in physical, cognitive or mental health for otherwise healthy older adults living in the community. By using this person-centered approach, it ensures that older adults and caregivers are key partners and contributors in this initiative.
The four central New York and six western New York organizations selected for the project planning phase of Aging by Design are:
Healthy Community Alliance, Gowanda, NY – works to improve quality of life for rural communities through partnerships that support wellness and prevention.
Hearts and Hands, Amherst, NY – a volunteer-based “neighbor helping neighbor” organization that works to support independence by providing services such as assisted transportation, minor home repair and companion services.
Interfaith Works of CNY, Syracuse, NY – a refugee resettlement agency that addresses racial, ethnic and religious divides across central New York.
Jericho Road, Buffalo, NY – provides safety net health care and human services programming to low-income and refugee community members.
Ken-Ton Meals on Wheels, Kenmore, NY – a volunteer-based community organization that delivers nutritious meals to homebound seniors.
Orleans County Office for the Aging, Albion, NY – provides a continuum of services for those 60 and older, along with caregivers of all ages.
Parkway Center, Utica, NY – provides programs and services that help older adults remain active and independent as they age.
Resource Center for Independent Living, Utica, NY –a disability rights and service organization that operates a social model Adult Day program.
The Silver Pride Project at Pride Center of WNY, Buffalo, NY – a peer group designed by seniors, which raises awareness about LGBT aging issues.
Tompkins County Office for the Aging, Ithaca, NY – provides a continuum of services for those 60 and older, along with caregivers of all ages.
As part of the six-month Project Planning Phase, the 10 organizations will apply what they learned through intensive training in design thinking to convene a project design team consisting of staff, volunteers and members of the community they serve. This team will produce prototypes that respond to and address the needs identified by older adults and caregivers.
Grantees will present their prototypes in spring 2018 and the Foundation will select projects to move ahead into the implementation phase starting in July 2018.
To learn more about Aging by Design, visit https://hfwcny.org/program/aging-by-design/