n4a Honors Innovative Programs that
Promote Successful Aging at Home and in the Community

For Immediate Release
September 22, 2020
Contact: Joellen Leavelle, jleavelle@n4a.org and (202) 872-0888

WASHINGTON—Today, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) honored 44 innovative programs that have found creative ways to support the needs of older adults in their communities through a variety of innovative programs that can be replicated by other Aging Network organizations. The award-winning programs are recipients of 2020 n4a Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards, which were distributed at n4a’s Virtual Conference and Tradeshow earlier today. The annual awards program, supported by Centene, recognizes n4a’s Area Agency on Aging (AAA) and Title VI Native American aging program members that have found new and innovate ways to support older adults, people with disabilities and caregivers as they live in their homes and communities for as long as possible.
“n4a is thrilled to present the Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards to a diverse and remarkable group of Area Agencies on Aging. We salute all those who have enhanced the prestige of this awards program by sharing their innovative initiatives with their peers in the Aging Network,” said Sandy Markwood, Chief Executive Officer of n4a. “Meeting the needs of older adults, people with disabilities and their caregivers has been at the heart of what the nation’s network of AAAs and Title VI Native American aging programs have done for nearly 50 years—and is more critical now, in light of the impact COVID-19 is having on the communities these agencies serve. These vital programs focus on social engagement, caregiving or healthy aging, and we commend them all. We know our members will continue creating great programs like the ones highlighted in this year’s 2020 Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards, as the aging of the population demands our best and most innovative solutions,” Markwood said.
Focused on solutions, speaking for Centene, the sponsor of the awards program, Mark Henry, Director, Contracting and Network Development at Centene remarked, “Centene is pleased to support n4a’s Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards program, which recognizes the work of Area Agencies on Aging to bring solutions for improved quality of life and better health outcomes for older adults. We salute this year’s award recipients for highlighting best practices with their peers, helping grow the AAA network’s capacity, and tirelessly assisting people in living healthier, more fulfilling lives through these programs.”
n4a presented 27 Aging Achievement Awards and 17 Aging Innovations Awards to programs in a variety of areas, including caregiving, healthy aging, nutrition, intergenerational programs and transportation. Descriptions of all 44 award-winning programs—and updates on how the programs have adjusted to the realities of COVID-19—can be found in n4a’s awards book. The following three programs were the highest-scoring Innovations winners and received cash awards: 
  • First place: Opioids: Safe Use, Safe Storage, A Healthier You | Region IV Area Agency on Aging | Saint Joseph, MI
    Category: Healthy Aging

    Description: To address the opioid public health crisis in Michigan, Region IV Area Agency on Aging pioneered a trailblazing regional partnership with health officials and housing authorities to develop and launch "Opioids: Safe Use, Safe Storage, A Healthier You,” an opioid education and medication management program for older adults residing in senior housing complexes. The project deploys Certified Addiction Prevention Specialists and focuses on providing training and education to combat older adult opioid use disorder; preventing opioid theft; and connecting older adults to alternative pain management options, addiction treatment and other supportive services.
  • Second place: FIRST: Boosting Dementia Capability through Cognitive Screening | County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency | San Diego, CA  
    Category: Agency Operations
    Description: To increase dementia service capability and assist older adults who may be living with dementia, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Aging & Independence Services implemented new cognitive screening protocols to assess the needs of clients who meet specific criteria. The agency has embedded this practice into its procedures, and an online training is provided for incoming staff.
  • Third place: My Meal–My Way Senior Dining | Area Agency on Aging of Dane County | Madison, WI
    Category: Nutrition

    Description: Through the My Meal–My Way program, older adults participating in the agency’s congregate nutrition program can dine at any of seven restaurants that the agency has worked with to offer a variety of menu options and dining times. Each restaurant provides participants with a choice of six to 12 menu options during a two to four-hour window of time, allowing older adults to choose what, when, where and with whom they dine. A program manager stationed at each dining location greets participants and handles paperwork, surveys and donation accounting.

About n4a

The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) represents the 622 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) across the country and is a champion in our nation’s capital for the more than 250 Title VI Native American aging programs. n4a’s primary mission is to build the capacity of our members so they can help older adults and people with disabilities live with dignity and choices in their homes and communities for as long as possible. (www.n4a.org)
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USAging Fact: Learn about your peers’ work—and how it can fit into your agency’s goals! The AIA Awards recognizes successful and innovative programs that USAging members have developed to serve older adults. Get inspiration from our 2023 winners!