Heritage Agency Sponsors the 10th Annual Caregiver Wellness Day
November 18 event to honor and support caregivers in the region
The Heritage Area Agency on Aging is hosting its 10th annual caregiver wellness day event, “A Celebration of Caregivers,” to give support and encouragement to informal caregivers of older adults in East Central Iowa. This free event will help informal caregivers focus on their own health and well-being, through a keynote address and breakout sessions.
The event is on Friday, November 18, at 8:30 a.m. at the Kirkwood Training and Outreach Services Center (KTOS), 3375 Armar Drive, in Marion.
Pat Giorgio, the owner of Evergreen Estates in Cedar Rapids will present her keynote, “Climate Change: How the Political Climate in Washington is Effecting Seniors.” Pat has been a national presenter for a number of organizations and has been a local presenter for the Elderly Consortium, Chamber of Commerce CEO Roundtable, Alzheimer’s Association and various local organizations.
Participants will be able to attend sessions on holiday stresses, alternative therapies and options for levels of care. Free blood pressure checks, and flu shots will be offered and participants will have the opportunity to enjoy free chair massage or reflexology therapies. The nearby Village Ridge Assisted Living will be offering free respite care, giving caregivers a break to enjoy the day.
This event is free, but registration is requested to ensure adequate food and materials are available. Please register by November 15, 2010 by calling the Heritage Agency office at 319-398-5559 or 1-800-332-5934.
Speacial thanks goes to our sponsors for helping to make the day possible.
Above & Beyond Home Health & Hospice Care
Aging Services, Inc.
Alzheimer’s Association of East Central Iowa
Essence of Life Hospice
Garnett Place Retirement Community
The Heritage Agency ADRC/ADRC of Linn County
Heritage Nursing & Rehab Center/Care Initiatives Hospice
Higley Mansion Care Center
HomeChoice Senior Care
Home Health Partner
Home Instead Senior Care
Hospice of Mercy
The Living Centers East & West
Mercy Medical Center
St. Luke’s Lifeline
The Views Senior Living
The Villages at Marion
Visiting Angels of Cedar Rapids
All Ages Care Services, LLC
Hallmark Care Center & Cherry Ridge Assisted Living
Honey Creek Cottage
Rose Haven & Lodgeon Lafayette
You are invited!
Critical Legislative Advocacy Issues Facing Seniors and People with Disabilities
Wednesday, November 2, 2011 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Kirkwood Center Ballroom B & C
7725 Kirkwood Boulevard S.W.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404
Free and open to the public
Target audience: older adults and people with disabilities and their advocates, providers, elected officials and their staff, and policy makers.
For questions or to RSVP email Ingrid.Wensel@kirkwood.edu or call 1.800.332.5934/1.319.398.5559
- The National Debt Debate Presenter: Mike Owen, Assistant Director, Iowa Policy Project
- Affordable Care Act Update: Why the ACA is a smart use of our health care dollars? Presenter: Judy Baker, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region VII Director
- Home and Community Based Services: Reducing and slowing the growth of long term care expenditures and the Olmstead Decision Presenter: Robert Bacon, Director, Iowa University Center for Excellence on Disabilities
- National Council on Aging One Away Campaign Presenter: Ingrid Wensel, Executive Director, Heritage Area Agency on Aging
Presenter Organization Affiliate Information
The Center for Disabilities and Development
The Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD) is Iowa’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD). As a member of the national network of 67 UCEDDs, CDD shares the vision in which all Americans, including Americans with disabilities, participate fully in their communities. CDD partners with Iowans with disabilities, their family members, providers, state and local agencies, and many others to improve the health and full community participation of persons with disabilities and to advance the community services which are a critical to support independence.
Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Intergovernmental External Affairs
The Office of Intergovernmental External Affairs serves the Secretary as the primary link between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and state, local, and tribal governments. The mission of the Office of Intergovernmental External Affairs is to facilitate communication regarding HHS initiatives as they relate to state, local, and tribal governments. IEA serves the dual role of representing the state and tribal perspective in the federal policymaking process as well as clarifying the federal perspective to state, and tribal representatives. The Office of Intergovernmental External Affairs hosts ten Regional Offices that directly serve state and local organizations. Each Regional Office is led by a President-appointed Regional Director. The Secretary’s Regional Directors ensure the Department maintains close contact with state, local, and tribal partners and addresses the needs of communities and individuals served through HHS programs and policies.
Heritage Area Agency on Aging
With 40 years of experience, The Heritage Agency is the leader in planning, coordinating, advocating for, and funding programs that serve the more than 70,000 older adults in Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Jones, Johnson, Linn and Washington counties in Iowa. Part of a national network of Area Agencies on a Aging, The Heritage Agency is funded through many sources including the Federal Older Americans Act, the Iowa Department on Aging, grants, and private donations.
Iowa Policy Project
The mission of the Iowa Policy Project is to promote public policy that fosters economic opportunity while safeguarding the health and well-being of Iowa’s people and the environment. The Iowa Policy Project (IPP) is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization founded in 2001 to produce research and analysis to engage Iowans in state policy decisions. IPP focuses on tax and budget issues, the Iowa economy, and energy and environmental policy. By providing a foundation of fact-based, objective research and engaging the public in an informed discussion of policy alternatives, IPP advances effective, accountable and fair government.
The Heritage Area Agency on Aging announces that the Heritage pet assistance program has been recognized by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) with an Aging Innovations Award, the highest honor presented by n4a.
The Tails-a-Waggin Pet Assistance Program helps older adults care for their companion pets. Because of limited income or a lack of transportation to get to a store, some seniors feed their home-delivered meals to their pets, creating nutrition problems for themselves. With the help of local agencies and The Heritage Agency’s nutrition providers, volunteers and other community workers, this program provides seniors with pet food and care products each month, enabling them to properly care for and keep their animals with them at home.
This program is on of 13 cutting-edge and successful programs recognized across the country with an Aging Innovations Award. This program will serve as a model for other agencies seeking new and effective approaches to address the needs of older residents and their families in local communities.
“Given the extremely challenging economic times we are facing right now, the work that these organizations are doing is extraordinary,” said n4a CEO Sandy Markwood. “The programs honored today represent the kind of innovative spirit, leadership and ‘can-do’ attitude we need nationwide to prepare our communities for the rapidly aging population. These programs are true models for the entire Aging Network, and we congratulate and thank them for all that they are doing to help older adults remain living independently.”
Heritage Area Agency on Aging also received the following 2011 n4a Aging Achievement Awards for their notable contributions to the quality of life of older adults and their caregivers:
Caregiver Wellness Day – This free mini-conference honors and celebrates informal caregivers in the community, while teaching them about nutrition, exercise, fall prevention, end-of-life decisions and communicating with health care providers.
Mercy Medical Center Partnership – The Heritage Agency and the Mercy Medical Center worked together to hold 19 classes, with more than 170 participants, helping people coping with chronic illness learn practical skills to help them get the most out of each day, while making fewer visits to the doctor and emergency rooms.
County Task Forces – The Heritage Agency created seven county task force committees that help with advocacy, planning and funding. The task forces strengthen the influence of local communities and counties on regional outcomes, and increase the number of people from the region involved in the decision-making.
Institutional Bias Campaign – The Heritage Agency spearheaded an advocacy campaign in 2008 to reduce Iowa’s over reliance on institutional care. The campaign educates elected officials and policymakers about the critical need for home and community-based services to support people across the lifespan. The campaign has expanded The Heritage Agency’s ability to develop a coordinated system of home and community-based supports.
Heritage accepts award for Tails A Waggin Program
The Heritage Agency, a department of Kirkwood Community College since 1973, works to plan, fund and advocate for older adults, their families and caregivers in Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn and Washington counties. For more information, call 319-398-5559 or visit www.involvementonline.org.
On May 26 Ingrid Wensel, the Executive Director of the Heritage Area Agency on Aging presented Recognition of Service awards before a large gathering. Here are her comments:
Opening of Awards Ceremony:
Good morning and welcome to the 2011 Heritage Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council Recognition of Service Awards. It is an honor to stand before all of you today, to recognize the amazing people who have worked so hard this past year to meet the needs of the seniors in our region.
I am pleased to have with us today, Jim Choate Vice President CFO/COO of Kirkwood Community College. For nearly 40 years, the generous support of Kirkwood has enabled our region to devote more resources to the needs of older adults. We are very grateful for our partnership with Kirkwood.
Before we begin I’d like to take a moment to thank the Community Relations Committee for hosting this event:
- Sally Donald
- Donna Luepker
- Margaret Kirby
- Michelle Buhman
- Pat Harstad
- Krista Woltman
- Murval Weidlein
I would also like to thank Heritage staff, not only for their hard work in making today’s celebration possible, but for the daily commitment they show to serving area seniors. In addition, the work of Heritage would not be possible without the commitment of our partner service providers.
As you all know, May represents Older American’s Month. The theme of this year’s celebration is Older Americans: Connecting the Community. The theme pays homage to the many ways in which older adults bring inspiration and continuity to the fabric of our communities. As you enjoyed breakfast this morning some of you may have noticed music in the background. What you may not know, it that the songs that you heard were the top 10 pop songs of 1965, the same year that the Older Americans Act was enacted. These songs were popular at that time because they reflected a time of change and transformation in American history. Now over 45 years after the Older Americans Act was established America is again faced with unprecedented challenges in our country.
The senior voice can be powerful during this period of change. 83% of people age 65 and older are registered to vote in Iowa and by 2030 the projected population age 65 and older will constitute almost 23% percent of the state’s total population. But what we know about the needs of seniors is often very different from what the general public believes are the needs of older adults.
Most of you are familiar with the Heritage nutrition program that provides congregate and home delivered meals in our region. The program would not be possible without the essential support of our many partner providers and local funders. Many of you here today are helping provide this crucial service in your community. I want to share with you a letter that was sent to one of our local providers from an caregiver of an individual receiving home delivered meals last month, This person wrote “We would like to thank you for providing the service for our mother. Up until now she has been able to give some donations in return, but her finances have changed and she will not be able to make the contributions anymore.” She continues by writing “She wanted to make sure I wrote a note explaining and saying a big thank you.”
I think that this letter clearly says what many older adults are increasingly saying “I cannot do this any longer, I wish I could, but can’t”.
There is a commonly held perception that older adults are more often than not flush with resources when the reality is that 1 in 6 older adults in American live every day experiencing food insecurity and lack the ability to afford their prescription medication.
We know that seniors are struggling, we just need to make sure that our community has a true picture of the needs of seniors in our community as critical discussions about the future of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security move forward.
Before we recognize today’s award winners I am going to highlight an initiative and program in the Heritage region that illustrate the commitment, tenacity, and resourcefulness of our community and the great people who work to support the needs of frail seniors in our community.
Because of the tremendous efforts of volunteers in this region who dedicate their time educating our elected officials and policy makers about the needs of seniors in our community, Heritage was approached by the National Council on Aging to partner with this prestigious organization to help create a series of local and national short videos that illustrate economic insecurity issues and older adults. The first video of what will be three videos that is now showing nationally as part of a public service campaign to educate Americans about the real plight of many seniors in our communities features someone near and dear to our region, Myrt Bowers, the Director of the Witwer senior Center in Cedar Rapids and long time advocate for older adults.
The campaign is called One Away because many older adults are one bad break away, one missed payment away, and one medical emergency away from financial ruin. Because of you and your efforts the voice of seniors who need our help is reaching a national audience.
The Heritage Elder Abuse Prevention and Invention Program that is implemented with the support of Aging Services and Elder Services provides a critical support for seniors in our community. Elder abuse continue to be a stigmatized social issue and is one of the most under-recognized and under-reported social problems in the United States. It is estimated that 84% of elder abuse cases go unreported. Last year alone 425 people in our region received support from the program. Elder abuse is not just an issue that impact seniors, but is a serious social crisis that impacts all generations. Now I would like to introduce to you two exceptional young women who go to North Central Junior High in North Liberty, Camille Anderson and Nisha Conney. Camille and Nisha, can you please come up. They hosted a bake sale at school and chose to donate their proceeds to Heritage in support of elder abuse prevention and intervention. Thank you.
I am happy to report that after many years advocacy, the national Elder Justice Act was passed in 2010 creating a national framework to combat elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The main provisions of the Elder Justice Act include:
Adult Protective Services funding, grants to support the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program and the establishment of an Elder Justice Coordinating Council.
Finally, I would be reminisce if I did not share with you that Heritage was recently notified that at the National Area Agencies on Aging Conference in July this year that we will be receiving four Aging Achievement Awards and one Aging Innovation Award. This is truly unprecedented and it is a reflection of the incredible work of Heritage, its partner providers, and committed volunteers, many of whom are here today. The awards will recognize Heritage’s legislative advocacy efforts with the disability services community, our annual caregiver wellness day, the partnership we have developed with Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids to support an evidenced based chronic disease self management program, and the Heritage country task force system.
Of particular significance is the Aging Innovation Award given to only 3 programs in the country. The program that is receiving this award is called Tails A Waggin and was developed by the staff at Heritage who volunteered their time to help aid older adults care for their companion pets. Local home-delivered meal providers often report that meals are being shared with, or given entirely to pets. The initiative provides food and care assistance items to individuals, empowering them to care for and keep, in some circumstances, their only friend. Tails-a-Waggin’ targets seniors in rural communities. With the help of local agencies, the project serves participants monthly. The program provides a multitude of benefits for both client and pet, including promotion of well-balanced diets, fostering improved mental health, and the tools necessary to keep furry family members with the people who love them.
Under the umbrella of the Older Americans Act the Heritage Area Agency on Aging has the honor and privilege of serving older adults and their families in this region by funding, coordinating, and advocating for home and community based services for older adults. On your table is snapshot of the programs and the number of older adults who accessed services provided by Heritage and its partner providers. I think few people are aware of the number of seniors in our region who rely on these critical services to support their independence. But none of this would be possibility without the leadership and activism of volunteers and that is why we are here today. I am being joined by Keith Griem the Chair of the Heritage Advisory Council who is going to help me present today’s awards. When your name is announced please make your way to the front to accept your award and bring your biggest smile because you are not getting away until we get your picture. Please then return to your seat to enjoy the rest of the program with your friends and family.
Don is the go-to person when people need something done and serves as the “welcome wagon” to new citizens of Van Horne. He removes snow from the Main Street sidewalks and provides lawn chores and snow removal from many elderly citizens. When the elderly need odd jobs, rides to appointments or basic chores done Don is willing to help.
Don serves as president of the Business Association and as such, is instrumental in providing leadership in community projects that assist the elderly.
Don also is extremely active in the Van Horne American Legion Post. As a leader in the Legion, he plays a vital role in comforting relatives and organizing military rites at Veterans funerals.
Don is a tremendous asset to the City of Van Horne. Don is exceptional individual and it is my pleasure to recognize Don as the Heritage Area Agency on Aging Outstanding Senior Volunteer in Benton County.
Harold and Mary Louise Horman
Since 1997, the team of Harold and Mary Louise Horman have served as volunteer transportation drivers at Volunteer Services of Cedar County transporting residents of Cedar County to doctor appointments in Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Davenport, Iowa City and Maquoketa hospitals. They rarely drive separately …it’s a team effort occasionally taking both of them to assist the client into the doctor’s office. To give you an idea about the dedication of the Horman’s, every Monday morning they take a client to Maquoketa for dialysis treatments. For this one person alone they log over 200 miles and spend an average of 7 hours a month support this persons unique needs. Harold and Mary are also very active with the Lions Organization, volunteers at Zion United Church of Christ in Lowden, and active members of the Lowden Legion. It is my honor to recognize Harold and Mary Louise Horman as the Heritage Area Agency on Aging Outstanding Senior Volunteers in Cedar County.
Eunice is a person who has spent much of her time caring for others and advocating for the needs of seniors. Eunice has been a member of the Heritage Agency Iowa county Task Force since 2000, she volunteers two days a week delivering meals, supports Iowa County Hospice, and visits and writes regularly to nursing home residents. She also drives people to doctor’s appointments through the RSVP program, initiated the start of a new library for the community of Millersburg, is a member of the Millersburg community Club, and the United Methodist Church. Eunice serves on the Better Schools Committee in her district and helps put up and take down the flags at the Millersburg Cemetery. Eunice is a caring neighbor and friend and reaches out to many with with phone calls, letters, and personal visits. She is an exceptional individual and it is my pleasure to recognize Eunice as the Heritage Area Agency on Aging Outstanding Senior Volunteer in Iowa County.
Gary volunteers at the Iowa City/Johnson county Senior Center as a counselor for the Senior Health Insurance information program (SHIIP). He helps seniors in Johnson County and several surrounding counties to navigate the complicated world of Medicare and other health insurance issues. Gary provides one-on-one counseling to hundreds of seniors each year, frequently volunteering 40-50 hours per weeks during the Medicare Annual Election Period in November and December. In addition to his counseling duties, Gary gives his time to intensive and ongoing SHIIP training, as well as coordinating the other SHIIP volunteers. Gary reports that helping people through his work with SHIIP has been one of the most rewarding experiences of his life. His skilled and generous service has been invaluable to area seniors. It is my honor to recognize Gary as the Heritage Area Agency on Aging Outstanding Senior Volunteer in Johnson County.
Our next honoree is not with us today. At age 90 is traveling out of state to attend his Grandson’s graduation for a much deserved vacation. Since January Leo has been volunteering several hours a week at the Olin American Legion helping to install a new wood floor. He is also active in the church where he spends hours in kitchen washing dishes with his wife Margaret. Leo has help with community projects, supported his church and has served as a role model for the young people in his community. During the flood of 2008, Leo along with his wife Margaret helped every day at the site where meals were served to the displaced families.
In addition to his commitment to his community his resourcefulness is well known. Leo literally has cut hundreds of pairs of old blue jeans into ¾ inch strips to help make rugs from discarded clothing. Women from the local church then sew them into long strips and then a friend who has lost his sight weaves them into rugs. The rugs are then sold at farmers markets and craft shows. Please join me in congratulating Leo Bonjour as Heritage’s Outstanding Volunteer in Jones County.
Bob is a recently retired social studies teacher who taught at the Center Point Schools for over 30 years. Throughout his tenure he has incorporated into his classes the need to help others by encouraging his students to volunteer to help older adults in our community. If a senior needs assistance, be it lawn mowing, raking or snow removal, people know that they can simply call Bob and he finds a student willing to volunteer their time. In addition to his students, Bob has also volunteered his time to deliver Meals on Wheels. Annually, Bob organizes a dinner for that draws nearly 400 seniors that is served by his students. Bob personally solicits prizes from local vendors so that each person attending the dinner receives a prize. Bob also is currently serving on the Center Point City Council. Bob is an exceptional individual and it is my pleasure to recognize Bob as the Heritage Area Agency on Aging Outstanding Senior Volunteer in Linn County.
Don Randol volunteer service benefits the young and old in his community. After retiring from Mid-Prairie High School where he served as a guidance counselor for 38 years, he continues to support young people at the Mid-Prairie Alternative Learning Center by cooking breakfast for the students, providing critical maintenance, shoveling snow and mowing the grass, and generally just helping the teachers and the students with whatever might be needed. His experience as Guidance Counselor is a very important asset in helping the students and teachers. Don also spends an hour every Monday with the Wellman Elementary Kindergarten class in the various learning centers, he mentors a Kalona Elementary student each school year and is a Seminar Parent at the High School an hour each month. Don also serves on the Goodwin Senior Center Board and the Wellman Parkside Strong Kids Campaign Committee. A member of the Asbury United Methodist Church, he is a lay leader serving on many Committees, teaches the Adult Sunday School Class, helps with the Food Pantry, and grows produce to sell at church with the proceeds going to the Church’s expenses. It is my honor to recognize Don as Heritage Area Agency on Aging Outstanding Senior Volunteer in Washington County.
Students and Staff of Midland High School
I am now pleased to recognized this year’s Heritage Area Agency on Aging Service to Seniors Award, the students and staff of Midland High School in Jones County. If you are here representing Midland High School I would ask that you come to the front. The students, with the support of their guidance counselor, Ed Ahouse, volunteer for their community’s home delivered meal program. Every year 2 adults and between 70 – and 90 students commit themselves to this critical service for seniors every Wednesday during the school year. This year the service proved to be even more critical. Ed and 2 students were delivering meals to a client that only received a bulk delivery about every two weeks. As they approached the house and knocked on the door they heard cries for “help.” Once in the apartment they found the client lying on the floor, partially dressed. The client told them she had been there all night. While Ed called 911 the two students helped the client get some warm clothing on and covered her while they waited for emergency services. Later, Ed reported how proud he was of the “professional behavior” of his 2 young students. They very well may have saved this person’s life. Because of the students and staff of Midland High School at risk and vulnerable older adults in their community, not only receive nutrious meals, but are engaged with the young people in their community.
Outstanding Public Official State Representative Mary Mascher
Representative Mary Mascher is in her 7th term in the Iowa House of Representatives. She serves as Chair of the State Government Committee, and is a member of the Education, Human Resources, and Veterans Affairs Committee. Mary has been vocal of her support for issues that impact older adults. This year in February the Johnson County Task Force on Aging sponsored a public forum and it was clear from Representative Mascher’s comments and feedback that she has a strong understanding of the needs of seniors. She also clearly recognizes the importance of supporting vital services for older adults like home and community based services. Her willingness to share her personal family experiences makes her a woman of the people and for the people. Thank you, Representative Mascher, for your service to our community and to the great state of Iowa.
Johnson County Older Adult Death Review Team
Johnson County Older Adult Death Review Team They are unique to the state of Iowa and are one of less than a dozen nationwide. Housed within the Johnson County Medical Examiner’s Office with meetings at the Decedent Care Center, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the JCOADR is led by County Medical Examiner Mike Hensch in partnership with Sara Sanders, University of Iowa, School of Social Work. A School of Social Work intern placed at the Medical Examiner’s Office provides administrative support.
Hensch and Sanders recognized that the growing problem of elder abuse is a national issue, and the response to elder abuse lags far behind the response to similar problems of child abuse or domestic violence. According to Mike at the Medical Examiner’s Office, they see on the autopsy table the result of elder abuse and can’t help but feel it’s unethical not to do something about it.
Together, Hensch and Sanders created the JCOADR manual based on materials from the American Bar Association and Office of Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The Guiding Principle for the JCOADR is that “Sudden, unexplained or questionable deaths are a community responsibility. Each death represents an event that should move communities to identify other individuals who are at risk for similar illnesses or injuries that may end in death.” The two goals of JCOADR are: 1) to enhance interagency/organization collaboration in all activities associated with the death investigation of older adults; and 2) to work to end preventable older adult deaths in Johnson county.
To achieve those goals, the JCOADR shares and discusses comprehensive information about the circumstances leading to preventable older adult deaths, including caregiver abuse or neglect, as well as self-neglect and suicide. The review is aimed at identifying risk factors of these fatalities and creating preventative action plans to reduce the number of future older adult deaths in our community.
JCOADR team members were identified to best represent the multi-disciplinary approach in the Guiding Principle and include: Community-Based Nurse, Community-Based Social Work, County Attorney, Department of Human Services, Emergency Medicine Physician, Forensic Pathologist, Geriatrician, Law Enforcement, Service Providers, Medical Examiners Department and Team Consultant from University of Iowa, School of Social Work. Each member brings their area of expertise to bear in reviewing pertinent data drawn from the death investigation reports, autopsy report, medical and health information, information on social services provided to the family and/or older adult, relevant family information and information on the person/people interacting with the older adult around the time of death.
Advocate of the Year RO FOEGE
Our next honoree is well known to many of us. Most of us know him from his efforts as a state legislator in the Iowa House. For twelve years Ro Foege served our great state representing the most frail and at-risk individuals in our communities. He became a leading voice for those who were unable or no longer able to speak for themselves. In June 2010 Ro was recruited to serve as the interim Director of the Iowa Department on Aging. Most people would be reluctant to take a leadership position in an organization that clearly was struggling. But Ro, despite these challenges, committed himself to begin rebuilding the organization. Ro worked tirelessly to advocate for the needs of the Iowa Department on Aging and the frail constituencies that it serves. His reputation within the public policy making community enabled him to build bridges and because of his leadership the Department is on a new path and has a brighter future. Ro is not able to be here today but he asked me to pass this message on to you.
I am very honored to be named the 2011 Advocate of the Year by Heritage AAA. I am sorry that I am unable to personally be with you to accept this honor. I feel very fortunate for the opportunity given to me by Governor Culver to work for older Iowans. In my stint as Director of the Iowa Department on Aging, I went into that position knowing about the quality work of Heritage AAA. Knowing you gave me the confidence that there is an “army” of professionals and volunteers who work tirelessly on behalf of all of us older Iowans. None of us does this work alone! We are in this unending endeavor together. There are so many people who deserve to be recognized for their advocacy and I can only hope that I am an equal of those good folks. Thanks for honoring me!
The Heritage Area Agency on Aging Outstanding Senior Volunteer in Area 10 for 2011
It is now my deepest honor to announce this year’s winner of The Heritage Area Agency on Aging Outstanding Senior Volunteer in Area 10 for 2011. This year’s winner is Eunice Holderness.
Conclusion of program:
As many of you know, in January I took over as the Director of Heritage after serving as its Associate Director for nearly 10 years. I cannot express how much your support and encouragement has and continues to mean to me. Five months ago I would have never guessed that a new state law passed this legislative session would direct the Iowa Department on Aging to reduce the number of Area Agencies on Aging in Iowa. As you know the Heritage Agency serves 7 counties in East Central Iowa. Next May at this time, we may be welcoming additional counties into our service territory. I am confident that with the committed volunteer leadership at Heritage, its tremendous staff, and our partner providers that the focus during this transition will be on ensuring that the seniors we serve experience no service interruption and that the our new constituencies will be made to feel that they will benefit from this new partnership. The Iowa Department on Aging will be hosting a series of forums across Iowa for the public to provide input into service delivery system for older adults. As soon as the forum in our region is announced information will be shared with the Heritage Advisory Council, Heritage Task Force Members, and Heritage partner providers. I encourage your participation in the forum and to reach out to others to have a vested interest in home and community based services for older adults.
As we end today’s program I believe that as the aging network transforms to meet the growing needs of older adults, that our shared histories, diverse experiences, and wealth of knowledge that have made our culture, economy, and local character what they are today will made for an even better future.
As George Washington Carver said:
“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”
I thank you all for being here today to help recognize these exceptional individuals and programs. Enjoy the rest of your day and please join me in congratulating today’s honorees.