By Elizabeth Costello, JSI; Project Manager, www.mahealthyagingcollaborative.org
Welcome to the new online home of the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative! We’re thrilled to share this website with you today after many months of development. In 2012, members of the Collaborative identified the need for a website to facilitate year-round communication and networking among members and other healthy aging professionals. In May 2013, JSI began working with the Tufts Health Plan Foundation and the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative to make this website a reality.
The Collaborative already had an early vision for a website to bring together diverse stakeholders with expertise and interest in healthy aging to foster idea sharing, start a dialogue around healthy aging, facilitate information and resource exchange, and build partnerships.
We built on this vision with an online survey and key informant interviews to determine how the website could best achieve the goals of the Collaborative while meeting the needs of its diverse members. We heard that you wanted a website to:
- Create a simple, one-stop shop for all information related to healthy aging in Massachusetts and eliminate the need to visit multiple websites. You want to know what is happening and who is doing it.
- Allow for regional classification and search of information.
- Provide a way to evaluate or pre-approve resources and/or organizations for specific healthy aging topics so that users don’t have to filter through incorrect or poor quality information through traditional search methods.
- Create a platform that each stakeholder is responsible for updating.
- Focus on providing resources and value for municipalities and those that are actually doing this work on the ground level.
- Center online discussions around: 1) challenges people are having, 2) facilitating collaboration, 3) opportunities for systems-level work (e.g. aging, housing, mental health).
We developed this website to respond to your needs, and we invite you to:
- Explore the Data Report to learn how your community compares to state averages in nearly 100 healthy aging indicators.
- Use the Find a Program feature to find out what healthy aging programs are offered in your community.
- Submit a program to make sure your organization is represented in our database.
- Read the Stories from the Field to learn what others are doing in the community, and tell us your own story.
- Browse Topics to see content across the site filtered by specific healthy aging topics.
- Visit the Resource section for links to general healthy aging resources for professionals, as well as a searchable Resource Library.
- Become a member of the site to connect with others through the online discussion group. Listen to the conversation, add a comment, or start a new discussion.
- Find other members with similar interests, and send them a private message.
- Follow the blog for updates from healthy aging thought leaders across the state.
- Add your favorite resources to the Resource Library.
This website will continue to evolve to best meet the needs of the Collaborative. Leave a comment below or contact us if you have questions or ideas for how the site can grow. We welcome your feedback, and we look forward to supporting you in your efforts to advance healthy aging in Massachusetts.