JOHN FEATHER, PhD, is Chief Executive Officer of Grantmakers In Aging, the national society of grantmaking foundations and other organizations that work to improve the lives of older people. Prior to beginning that position on October 1, 2011, Dr. Feather was Executive Director and CEO of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, the national membership organization of pharmacists who specialize in care of older persons. Until 2002, he was Director of the AARP Andrus Foundation, the research and education charity of AARP. Dr. Feather is Past Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Society on Aging, Past Treasurer of the National Hispanic Council on Aging, and a former officer or Board member of 12 other national non-profit organizations. In March 2015, he received the ASA Award, the highest honor of the American Society on Aging for his work in policy, practice, and education.
Dr. Feather is an organizational sociologist by training and received his undergraduate education at the University of Texas at Austin and his masters and doctoral degrees at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He has earned the designation of Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and Certified Association Executive (CAE).
Accessing Lessons from Under-Resourced Communities to Inform the Age-Friendly Movement
Kristin Bodiford, Ph.D is a Health Advisor with HelpAge USA developing global health strategies and building corporate and foundation partnerships to support the work of HelpAge International. In this work, she leads teams in data digitization and collection, global analysis and visualization, and human centered design of program and policy responses working to improve health of over 50,000 older persons and their families in low- and middle-income countries. Kristin also serves as a representative to the United Nations’ Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSC) for Generations United and Council Leader, Network on Environments, Services and Technologies for Maximizing Independence (NEST) Constituent Group, American Society on Aging. She serves as faculty at Dominican University School of Social Work. Kristin served as a co-principal investigator for a national study Improving the Health of Older Persons in Uganda: Developing intergenerational community based responses through action research; developed and provide training and technical assistance to an initiative in Kibaha, Tanzania to strengthen intergenerational and family-centered community based responses to improve health across the life course; and was a core project team member for the scaling up of the Social Gerontology Manal is Uganda. Kristin holds a Ph.D. from Tilburg University and an MBA from University of California, Davis. Kristin has extensive experience working to create more age-friendly and livable communities for all ages including producing Creating Aging-Friendly Communities, an international online conference and community of practice in partnership with UC Berkeley School for Social Welfare.
Jerome Sam-De Mwaya: Jerome Sam-De Mwaya holds Bachelors of Social Work and he participating in a fellowship for his Master of Social Work at the Institute of Social Work in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. For three years, he has worked as a Programs Officer at HelpAge International Tanzania, working under health and social protection portfolios to advocate for older people’s health and social protection needs. He coordinates the development, implementation and evaluation of programs that address the needs of older people, builds the capacity of partners to develop and implement Sound Health and Social protection programs, and contributes to the development of advocacy strategies for the needs of older people. He has worked with Government and non-government stakeholders to promote support for the aging population in terms of poverty reduction and advocacy programs. He has 13 years of experience working in project management at different organizations. He has managed and supervised different projects that provide social services to vulnerable groups and assessed the capacity of respective to ensure effective implementation of such projects. His research interests include; project circle management, Co-designing health initiatives and community integration, Intergeneration health ageing through Life Course Approach, Community empowerment and program monitoring and evaluation.
Sam-De Mwaya, J.
Jenny Campbell holds a Ph.D. in Social Work and Social Research from Bryn Mawr College, as well as a Master’s degree in Social Work from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a Master’s in Education and Gerontology from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. A 35-year professional advocate for older adults, Campbell has led the evaluation of numerous aging-demonstration programs, including ones funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, Atlantic Philanthropies, the Administration on Aging and Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.
After Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Campbell served as the Director of the Hurricane Fund for the Elderly, an initiative of Grantmakers In Aging. The Fund was a vehicle for directing philanthropic dollars to reestablishing the older adult services system after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. She also served as the evaluator on EngAGEment for Grantmakers in Aging and for Grantmakers In Aging’s Community AGEnda project – a Pfizer funded age-friendly city project. Currently she is evaluating two rural projects – one to increase nursing student interest in a long- term care career with older adults, and the other to build age-friendly capacity in South Dakota. She is also currently working on a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded project to find best practices in age-friendly work abroad and work to bring these practices to the United States. In addition to her consulting practice, Dr. Campbell serves as a lecturer at Bryn Mawr College’s Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research where she currently teaches ethics.
The WHO Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing (2016) calls for nations to create age-friendly environments. Age-friendly communities “promote health, remove barriers, and ensure older people age safely in a place that is right for them” (WHO 2016).
Since its inception in 2010, the WHO Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities has grown to include twelve affiliate programs with state or national responsibility and 500 individual cities and communities in 37 countries, covering over 155 million people worldwide. Yet despite the exponential growth of this program, age-friendly programs in lower-income countries remain rare. With a few exceptions, age-friendly efforts have taken place only in mid- to high-resource areas, denying this effective model to areas that stand to benefit greatly from this approach. There is a perception that the age-friendly model requires considerable funding and human resources to implement, making it not available to low-income/high stress communities. However, successful – even transformative – age-friendly projects exist in very challenged communities, including: Manchester, U.K.; Brownsville, Texas; Macon Bibb, Georgia; New York City; Philadelphia; Miami; and various places in Maine. These are all places where low-income communities have been able to implement the AF model to make significant advances in improving the lives of members of those communities.
Lower-resource communities in inner-urban and rural areas within the US and developing countries share a similar strength and challenge; both are finding themselves raising grandchildren. Older adults in East Africa are experiencing the upheaval of traditional roles due to loss of the middle generation to AIDS, while older adults in the US are increasingly needing to raise grandchildren because of the middle generation’s drug use, the high rate of incarceration, and the need for adults to be working more than one job to secure sufficient income. This shared experience of assuming parenting later in life is increasingly a common experience of aging.
There are important lessons to be learned from low resource/high stress communities who are identifying problems and solutions to supporting older adults in their communities.
While the Age-Friendly (AF) community within the U.S. has grown exponentially through the sharing of best practices, the lessons to be learned from the international AF efforts have been more difficult to discern. Significant barriers exist to sharing best practices and learnings across international boundaries. This initiative convened national and international leaders in age-friendly work to identify international best practices and make them accessible to US communities.
Creating a process for sharing promising practices across international boundaries is a necessary and logical step in the worldwide age-friendly movement. The international AF community has had significant successes that have not been brought to light in the U.S. Canada has taken the lead in creating programs that bring AF insights to rural communities. Ireland and Finland both have country-wide efforts that would be useful in guiding the development of state-wide or regional approaches in the U.S. Such information would be beneficial to U.S. communities who are both starting their AF work, or are deeply ensconced and seeking solutions to systemic challenges.
Grantmakers In Aging undertook a two-year initiative to engage diverse experts from the AF movement to create a model for bringing international best practices to the U.S. to consider: Is it replicable? Is it cost-effective? Is it evidenced-based? Can it be translated into a U.S. model? The main research method drew upon the power of focus groups, and tightly organized work groups to convene the many – but scattered – leaders in the age-friendly movement and focus their attention on very specific challenges. Through the identification of best practices, and translating those practices into jargon-free material, this project sought to transcend cultural and structural differences between the U.S. and the international community.
HelpAge USA has been working with network partners to develop a human-centered approach called Collaborating for Health. This approach supports communities to co-design local solutions to issues that older people and their families face with older people rather than for them. It has been implemented in India, Tanzania, and Uganda where Older People’s Groups engaged their communities around the design challenge “How might older people promote healthy and active lifestyles for themselves, their families, and their communities”. In response, teams designed strategies focusing on sanitation, nutrition, physical exercises, regular health checkups, community-based noncommunicable disease (NCD) screenings, access to medicines, self-care training, and formal/informal health sector collaboration. Goals of the community projects in India, Tanzania, and Uganda include:
- Establish healthy living practices for community members of all ages to prevent and manage NCDs.
- Improve quality of life and well-being among older people with NCDs.
- Develop new organizational alliances and collaborations to promote health.
- Engage multiple generations in decision making and leadership roles.
- Develop places, practices, and policies that support intergenerational interaction and connection.
- Strengthen collaboration between youth organizations, schools, families and older people groups.
- Increase collaboration between health facilities, health workers, and family caregivers.
Jerome Sam-De Mwaya
(Jerome) HelpAge Tanzania developed a project called Afya Kibaha that adopts an inclusive and age-friendly community approach to equally engage youth and older persons in co-creating opportunities for health and participation in order to enhance quality of life for all ages. It employs a strengths and community-based approach where activities are co-designed with key community members and stakeholders through the Community Life Competence Process (CLCP). CLCP is a process that aims at promoting community self-reliance by stimulating members of all ages to appreciate their strengths and abilities to address their concerns. CLCP starts with valuing that every community has the capacity to develop local responses, actions that a community can take using their own resources. Examples of responses include intergenerational physical activities, community gardens, and health education programs. These activities harness intergenerational collaboration and health promotion and proactively engage youth, families, and older persons. Intergenerational community teams develop clear action plans and assess their own progress. They are supported by the collaboration of leadership from youth organizations, ageing organizations, family organizations, schools and older persons groups. The Tanzania Ministry of Local Administration and Regional Government and the Zanzibar Ministry of Health are considering incorporating this approach into their policies and operations.