Never Too Late - July 2022

Aging in Our Community A Message from W. Mark Clark, President and CEO

Vision for a New Year

implement new technology at CareGiver Training Institute, which will enable us to both educate more students and to produce better data about how this training impacts the workforce issue locally. Every few years, PCOA does a community needs assessment to inform our planning, service delivery, and understanding of the issues and concerns relevant to older adults and caregivers in Pima County. This fall, we’ll be conducting surveys, focus groups, and listening sessions to gather this valuable data. We’re grateful for funding from the Vitalyst Foundation to support our expansion of this effort to help us better understand the impact of the pandemic on older adults and look at this information through a health equity lens. Through Dementia Capable Southern Arizona, anchored at PCOA, we are stepping up our efforts to support those with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias and their caregivers. We will continue our work with Pima County and the Elder Alliance to create a dementia friendly Pima County plan, which will act as a roadmap for our community for years to come. We will also work to expand memory cafés and dementia screenings to ensure that we reach people who are experiencing dementia and their care partners. Of course, our longstanding services to support older adults in aging in place will continue, including in-home assistance with activities like bathing, dressing, and housekeeping, as well as Pima Meals on Wheels, home repair for lower-income homeowners, support for family caregivers, and much more. We will continue to work with our Members of Congress and state legislature to advocate

for additional funds to better support our growing older adult population. A significant focus continues to be working to make our services more equitable, accessible, and targeted to meet the needs of all older adults in our community. This work of inclusion has been a key focus of PCOA’s almost since our inception, especially as it relates to older adults. Our recently launched Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) Committee has a host of actions planned to integrate IDEA principles into everything we do. These include internal improvements, such as evaluating the need to make changes to internal policies and processes and developing ongoing training and expectations for staff, as well as assessing how to better serve our diverse community. We know that there is still much to do to make ours a more inclusive organization and community, and we are actively doing that work. As we kick off the new year, I want to thank the board and my colleagues at PCOA for their tireless work over this past year on behalf of older adults and those who love and care for them. These have been challenging and unprecedented times, and I continue to be amazed and so grateful for the ingenuity and industry of the staff who provide the services, day in and day out, that make such a difference to the people who turn to PCOA for help and support. I look forward with great excitement to the honor of serving our community alongside each of them again in the months ahead.

Pima Council on Aging’s new fiscal year began on July 1, launching not only a new annual budget, but more importantly, a set of goals and overarching vision for how we will work to meet the needs of our community in the coming twelve months. Two significant challenges I’ve discussed here in the past that will require our attention this year and beyond are affordable housing, and a direct care workforce shortage. As a community, we need a host of responses to address the affordable housing crisis facing older adults and other vulnerable people in our community. And PCOA is committed to working collaboratively to identify and put those responses into place. Over the past year, with partnership from the City of Tucson and Pima County, we’ve developed a pilot home sharing program, which is aimed at providing alternatives for economical housing solutions for older adults. Looking into the future, we need to continue to be bold and work towards reforms and programs that will make housing more attainable and affordable for older renters and homeowners. The shortage of workers to provide skilled, compassionate care is one of the seminal challenges of our time, not only for those of us working in the aging space, but for the 70% of us who will someday need their assistance. The PCOA family of nonprofit companies, including PimaCare at Home and CareGiver Training Institute, will continue to recruit Direct Care Workers and provide a series of training programs to improve the career path for frontline healthcare workers. We are exceedingly grateful to have recently received a generous grant from the Margaret E. Mooney Foundation to

W.Mark Clark President & CEO

July 2022, Never Too Late | Page 3

Pima Council on Aging

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