Older Americans Month 2023

Dave Beal
April 27, 2023 / 5 mins read

May is Older Americans Month. This year’s theme, Aging Unbound, is an opportunity for exploring diverse aging experiences and paving our own paths for enjoying independence and fulfillment as we age. Olmsted County has a growing number of older adults who contribute their time, wisdom, and experience to our community.

We all benefit when people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds have the opportunity to participate and live independently.

At Family Service Rochester, we recognize the need to create a community that offers the services and supports older adults need to make choices about how they age. Our professional staff and volunteers work with older adults and their caregivers to assist them in living safely in the homes and neighborhoods they love. Two major programs include Senior Nutrition and Neighbors Helping Neighbors.

Our Senior Nutrition program provides home delivered, prepared meals (Meals on Wheels) seven days a week to some of the most frail and vulnerable older adults in the greater Rochester area; a congregate dining experience accompanied by social activities; and FRESH food/grocery delivery. Senior nutrition volunteers deliver a friendly visit and assurance along with nutritious food to hundreds of older and disabled adults across Olmsted County.

Through Neighbors Helping Neighbors, older adults receive services that help them to remain living in their homes. Typical services include: home modifications & repairs, safety visits; seasonal chores; lawn and snow care; technology assistance; mental health care; assisted transportation; friendly visiting/companions; housekeeping; and, packing and moving.

This year we are launching Caregiver Counseling and Respite Services to provide safety, companionship, supervision, and other non-medical support that allow the primary caregiver time away for other activities.

We also conducted co-design research for the Minnesota Department of Human Services on BIPOC & rural elders home and community-based service needs and expanded our partnerships serving seniors with University of Minnesota Rochester and Winona State University partnerships.

In addition to our Senior Independence services and programs, we are the lead agency for Age-Friendly Olmsted County. As we moved into 2023, we continued projects begun in 2022 and submitted grants for projects that would implement the Age-Friendly Olmsted County 2022-2025 Action Plan.

Here is where we stand:

Action Area I: Age-Friendly Community Supports and Health Service:

We have been awarded various grants totaling around $100,000 to support work in caregiver counseling and respite services and services for low-income, underserved, rural seniors.

Action Area II: Aging in Place Readiness Planning:

We have been awarded an Age-Friendly Minnesota Community Grant for $23,000 for this work.

Action Area III: Age-Friendly Community Engagement:

We formed a Digital Connection Committee as part of the state's digital inclusion project and received a $4000 grant.

We submitted a AARP Community Challenge Grant to conduct a safety and walkability walk audit in the Slattery Park Neighborhood in conjunction with the City of Rochester.

We also support the City of Rochester's submission of an AARP Community Challenge Grant to conduct an Accessory Dwelling Unit Design Contest.

Working with AARP Minnesota and the Alzheimer’s Association, we lead efforts at the capitol to reform and increase funding for Live Well at Home Grants. A final decision in the legislature is pending.

We remain engaged with local efforts to develop accessory dwelling unit pilot project.

We are working to ensure that parks and recereational facilities support older adult access and activities.

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