We have long focused on supporting the healthy, independent aging of America’s seniors – particularly people struggling with limited resources, isolated settings, or challenging social determinants like lack of transportation or food insecurity. We do this in a variety of inventive ways, and see the future as one in which all seniors can maintain their independence in the home and community of their choice, living full and abundant lives. Over 200 of our member organizations work with seniors, providing home- and community-based services from home health care, senior centers and care coordination, to transportation, behavioral health and respite care. Our members also work with seniors via residential care, whether through affordable housing or independent living efforts, or assisted living, nursing homes or memory centers.
Through a three-year grant of $2.5 million from a national foundation, we established the collaborative to expand community-based services and supports to improve the health and quality of life for low-income seniors in rural North Dakota and Minnesota, and make these services sustainable beyond the grant. This grant was completed in December 2018, and successfully improved the health and quality of life of over 1,550 low-income vulnerable seniors in over 70 communities throughout rural Minnesota and North Dakota. As part of the grant, we engaged North Dakota State University as the program evaluation partner. A second three-year grant of $3.4 million recently was awarded to scale successful programs under the first grant in rural Minnesota and North Dakota and expand services to rural Montana.
Connect-Home is an example of an innovative partnership created by Lutheran Services and supported by a generous grant. Developed by The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Connect-Home initially was implemented at four member organizations and now has doubled in size. This groundbreaking model is proven to improve transitional care for low-income seniors to successfully return home after post-acute care stays. Our success rate is an impressive 86 percent, and we have a continuation grant to expand implementation to an additional four communities with the long-term goal of making Connect-Home the gold standard of care transitions.
Through a $500,000 seed investment from 11 member organizations and a grant from The Lutheran Services Elderly Endowment, we are implementing a community-based solution for high-need seniors focusing on addressing unmet social determinants. Our pilot model is enabling us to successfully engage older adults in chronic disease management, and reduce unnecessary hospitalization and emergency room visits.
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