Healthy Community Alliance (HCA) has been selected to receive two separate grant awards from local foundations totaling $96,000 that will help the agency provide improved services and supports to older adults and their caregivers. One grant will address improving social connectivity and sense of belonging among older adults in the Gowanda area and the other grant will be administered in partnership with the Springville Concord Elder Network (SCENe) to improve access to supports and services for caregivers of older adults in the Springville/Concord area.

A $71,000 implementation grant which is part of a multi-year project funded by the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York that uses innovative approaches to problem solving, known as Design Thinking, will help the agency work with older adults in the Gowanda area to create solutions that impact the emotional health and well-being of older adults in the community. Funds will be used to make modifications to the inside and outside of Academy Place Apartments /Community Place at 1 School Street that would improve the sense of “community” and help people feel more connected to each other and will also provide staffing and supplies to develop activities that engage older adults in social, educational and recreational programming. The project team will work to identify solutions that positively affect physical, emotional and mental health of older adults and will test and retest those solutions to determine what works best for the older adults in our area.

“Seniors in rural communities often face feelings of loneliness and social isolation which can lead to a decline in physical and emotional health,” says CEO Ann Battaglia.  “This is an opportunity for us to address those issues when we include older adults as our partners in problem-solving.”

The Health Foundation for Western and Central New York is an independent private foundation whose mission is to spark lasting change in health and health care for older adults, young children and the systems serving them.

The second grant in the amount of $25,000 was awarded to HCA from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr Legacy Funds administered by the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo.  This grant will help the agency develop a caregiver resource, known as Caregiver Connection, that will strengthen rural communities’ abilities to understand caregiver needs and to build a foundation for vital services such as respite, education and training, and information and referral.  HCA will partner with the Springville Concord Elder Network (SCENe), Erie County Department of Senior Services and other community programs to improve support to caregivers including expanding respite hours for loved ones with dementia; offering evidence-based programs to increase caregiver skills and empowerment; increasing outreach to raise awareness of available services; and developing a local caregiver resource center.

Healthy Community Alliance (HCA) is a rural health network based in Gowanda, N.Y. with a mission to improve quality of life in rural communities through broad-based, inclusive partnerships that support wellness and prevention. For more information on the project or on Healthy Community Alliance’s programs and services call (716)532-1010.