Never Too Late - January 2022

Neighbors Care Alliance

Foothills Nonprofit Helped Age-in-Place Vision Thrive

By the Board of Directors of Sunrise Neighborhood Assistance Program (SNAP) As a page turns in the Sunrise neighborhoods of the Fairfield-in-the- Foothills section of northeast Tucson, a new chapter opens in facilitating age- in-place choices in Pima County, thanks to a transition announced by one local nonprofit. Sunrise Neighborhood Assistance Program (SNAP) – a nonprofit founded in 2007 to help older adults age in their own homes for as long as possible – has formally ended its services and closed at the end of 2021. The pandemic accelerated a change for SNAP: When COVID restricted SNAP’s volunteer transportation services and social/ education programs, neighbors and family members stepped in to proactively support the older adults in the nonprofit’s service area. The demand for SNAP services then dwindled. "The 'neighbors helping neighbors' vision that is part of the SNAP mission has evolved in special ways that have become permanent," said Mary Becker, SNAP’s Board Chairperson. "SNAP recognized that the needs of older adults were changing at a time when SNAP was forced to curtail its volunteer services. We now see that SNAP's age-in-place commitment can be fulfilled in a more coordinated, strategic way through existing channels." New Support for Neighbors Care Alliance and TMC for Seniors On December 31, 2021, SNAP transferred its remaining financial resources to two prominent community-centered initiatives that facilitate aging in place in Pima County: Pima Council on Aging's

Neighbors Care Alliance (NCA) and TMC for Seniors. Each program received half of SNAP’s remaining net monetary assets. “There is widespread recognition that strongly-integrated services and programs for older adults are critical for successful aging in place,” Mary commented. “Many older neighbors wish to age safely in their homes, but without access to coordinated programs for transportation or social gatherings, we’ve seen social isolation and lessening of quality of life for one of our community’s most crucial resources — our elders,” she continued. About the decision to give SNAP resources to TMC for Seniors and PCOA’s NCA program, Mary said: “SNAP’s hope is that this gift to two organizations with such a long history of service will inspire a call to action regarding support for older adults. These programs will fill in where SNAP leaves off." Snapping to It Over the Years SNAP— “at the heart of the community” since 2007 with its core services, education, and social programs – has helped the community’s adults (+55) and the disabled to live in their own homes safely and independently for as long as possible. It was founded more than 14 years ago by a small group of caring individuals (Lucy “Tiny” Read, Lu Salisbury and Jayne Henninger). Over the years more than one hundred resolute volunteers provided the fuel for the SNAP engine, which annually fulfilled thousands of services for SNAP clients through thousands more hours of volunteer services. "SNAP is grateful to the many volunteers who helped improve quality of life for their neighbors,” said Mary. “We salute

a dedicated, experienced volunteer ‘phone patrol’ team who was the first line of support and information for the community. The chain of service and stewardship extends to neighbors who served on SNAP’s Board, to the families of clients, to donors, local business sponsors and to the community at large who actively engaged in SNAP programs. Each one contributed to helping older adults live safely in place, and to ensuring their improved quality of life. Because of the SNAP family, the SNAP legacy will endure.” Delivering the Future for Aging in Place Mary noted that – with more than 22 percent of Arizona’s total population over the age of sixty-five, according to the Arizona State Plan on Aging – the need for older adult services will only grow as a priority. “This decision by the SNAP Board to designate remaining assets to PCOA’s Neighbors Care Alliance and to TMC for Seniors is especially timely given the new focus on older adults during the pandemic,” she said. “We're confident SNAP's mission will live on, and we see this transition as reinforcing the backbone of aging-in-place services in Pima County.” For additional information about PCOA’s Neighbors Care Alliance please contact Mary O’Donoghue, Volunteer Services Coordinator at mo’ or at (520) 258-5062.

January 2022, Never Too Late | Page 25

Pima Council on Aging

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