News

With Tufts Health Plan Foundation Grant, MCOA Continues the Work of Dementia Friendly Massachusetts

Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging (MCOA) is pleased to announce that Tufts Health Plan Foundation’s prestigious President’s Leadership Fund awarded the organization a three-year grant of $302,068 to support Dementia Friendly Massachusetts (DFM).  The grant positions MCOA as the backbone organization for the Dementia Friendly Initiative so more Massachusetts communities embrace and become active dementia friendly communities. MCOA will ensure local, regional, and state actors are coordinating their activities –educating the public, training leaders of local communities, engaging regional service providers and businesses as participants in the DFM movement, developing new public policy, or creating media attention.

The DFM staff will closely collaborate with training partners from the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative and AARP to further develop and disseminate integrated approaches that communities may use to pursue both age-friendly and dementia friendly initiatives in a streamlined fashion.  David Stevens, MCOA’s executive director, stated “The Tufts Health Plan Foundation’s grant will provide the resources to build strategic partnerships, educate and empower municipal leaders who manage local aging services, advocate for policies to improve the quality of life for older adults living with dementia, and ensure the delivery of quality programming to advance healthy aging for older adults.”

MCOA will oversee the DFM Management Committee that includes members from the Alzheimer’s Association, MA/NH Chapter, Jewish Family & Children’s Services, MA Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Multicultural Coalition on Aging, and Leading Age.  Dementia Friendly means community institutions embed awareness about dementia friendly practices into their programs, staff training and customer service cultures.  For more information, please contact Director of Special Projects, Mary Kay Browne at 413-923-4161.

UMB Gerontology Blog: Federal Tax Reform Puts Senior Affordable Housing in Danger

The growing number of older adults in Massachusetts and nationally are running up against a lack of affordable housing options and the situation is already in crisis mode, according to Len Fishman, director of the UMass Boston Gerontology Institute.

In the Gerontology Institute’s Blog, Fishman spotlights how the current affordable senior housing  crisis would be made worse by the US House of Representatives version of tax reform, which may force people out of communities where they have spent their lifetime in many cases.

As Fishman explains, “the most important remaining government program assisting the construction and preservation of affordable housing like that involves the tax-exempt private activity bonds and an accompanying 4 percent low-income housing tax credit.” Continue reading

Town of Lenox on the Move

The following is posted with permission from WalkBoston and written by Gwen Miller who is the Land Use Director and Town Planner for Lenox, MA. This article was featured in WalkBoston’s October 2017 newsletter.

Lenox, in the Berkshires, has just over 5,000 residents. It is largely rural with a small downtown, parks, public art, great restaurants, Tanglewood, and The Mount/Edith Wharton’s Home. In Lenox, you get the small-town vibe but big-city culture.  Continue reading

National Poll on Healthy Aging Releases Report on Dementia Caregivers

With support from AARP, the University of Michigan launched the National Poll on Healthy Aging to help inform the public, health care providers, policymakers, and senior advocates on issues related to health, health care and health policy affecting Americans 50 years of age and older.

The project began in the Spring of 2017 and started issuing reports monthly on specific issues to highlight survey results, which are gathered multiple times throughout the year.

The latest of those reports focuses on Dementia caregivers and breaks down data on who caregivers are and their views on stress, whether their tasks are rewarding, and the health implications.

Here are some samples of the findings:

  • Nearly all of those surveyed (91%) felt that being a caregiver has made them think about their own potential needs for caregiving in the future.
  • One in four caregivers (27%) reported delaying or not doing things they should do for their health.
  • Overall, 27% of caregivers had used caregiving resources in the past year such as self-help resources, family therapy, classes or trainings, support groups, and/or respite care; 41% of those who had not used any caregiving resources indicated an interest in using them.

Bill Gates Investing $50 million in Alzheimer’s Research

Bill Gates revealed personal connections, the emotional costs, and a deep concern for the growing prevalence in Alzheimer’s as some of the reasons behind his personal investment of $50 million to help find a treatment for the disease.

In his blog, the billionaire ticked off the financial burdens Alzheimer’s brings to families and the healthcare system, and had some specific goals for what he hopes to accomplish with the financial support he has added to the fight. Continue reading