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Health

The AoA Health, Prevention, and Wellness Programs provide seniors with the tools to maintain their health, reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases, and manage their health to live as independently as possible. The centerpiece of these programs- the Evidence-Based Disease and Disability Prevention Program - provides discretionary grants to states to support collaborations between aging and public health networks to implement evidence-based prevention programs. These programs help seniors to improve and/or maintain their physical and mental health, reduce their risk of falling, and better manage their chronic diseases. AoA also supports a Diabetes Self-Management Training Initiative, the Hispanic Elders Project, and leads the aging component of HHS’s Healthy People 2020. For more information, go to http://www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/AoA_Programs/HPW/index.aspx.

Faye Lee, Arizona - “Changing the Meaning of Volunteer”

Image of Faye LeeFaye lee uses her professional experience to make a difference at Sun Health hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. Sun health is a participant in the National Council on Aging's RespectAbility initiative, which is helping nonprofits find new ways to engage older volunteers in professional-level roles. Faye was asked to take the lead in changing the way volunteers worked throughout the hospital. As a "roving ambassador," Faye serves as a volunteer liaison between hospital staff and volunteers to help both sides find ways to tap into older volunteers' abilities and energy. It didn’t take long for staff to realize the immense potential of volunteers. Several units now have their own “roving ambassadors” who are fully engaged members of the care team. Lee also developed a leadership manual and training program to help volunteers grow.

Faith Fletcher, Maine – “Making a Difference”

Image of Faith FletcherFaith is an 85-year-old former orthopedic surgery nurse from Portland, who coaches other seniors on how to manage their risk for falls. Fletcher is a volunteer lay leader for A Matter of Balance, a nationally recognized, proven falls prevention program for older adults in the community. Now in 21 states, A Matter of Balance uses well-trained volunteers to conduct eight two-hour classes. The program helps both participants and volunteer leaders. A recent survey found that 76% of lay leaders felt they made a positive different in another person’s life, and 84% said they increased their own confidence about managing falls.

Submitted by the National Council on Aging, Washington, DC