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Covering advances in research, practice and policy nationwide

JULY–AUGUST 2019 volume xl number 4

the bimonthly newspaper of the American Society on Aging t i t l f t i i t i

America’s health security preparedness: are we ready to protect our elders?

In this issue

FORUM Is America prepared for extreme longevity? page 3 AGINGWITH OPTIONS Of community and quality of life—it’s about choice page 5 IN FOCUS When disasters strike, how do older adults survive? page 7 The virtual reality−empathy connection page 13 Lessons in leading: the 2019 ASA Leadership Institute page 16

as natural disasters and disease out- breaks. Using a broad constellation of metrics, the National Health Security Preparedness Index (the Index) demon- strates that many stakeholders across sec- tors contribute to health security at state and national levels. Key sectors include public health, medical care, emergency management, public safety, nonprofit and voluntary organizations, businesses, the Experienced professionals may not be fully aware of health security resources and needs outside their immediate control and responsibility. faith community and others. Due to this complexity, even seasoned professionals may not be fully aware of health security resources and needs that lie outside their immediate control and responsibility. ters for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced the concept of expand- ing the definition ofMA supplemental ben- efits to consider supplemental benefits that are not necessarily medically oriented. In 2020, MA plans would be allowed to offer a broader scope of supplemental benefits to address social determinants of health, under specific guidance from CMS. The 2019 Call Letters and other related CMS rule-making notices provided more defini- tive explanations of the scope and options ‘We hear it all the time, “How do we even start a conversation?” “Whom do I contact?” ’ available for chronically ill MA beneficia- ries. This new guidance could foster more opportunities for CBOs to partner with MA plans to deliver a broader array of sup- plemental benefits.

By Alonzo L. Plough P reparedness for and resilience in the face of emergencies and disas- ters of many sorts are essential components of well-being and good health. This is particularly true for older Americans. The National Health Security Preparedness Index ( ) analyzes 129 measures of preparedness to identify strengths and opportunities for keeping the nation safe. What is health security? It is a condi- tion in which a nation and its people are prepared for, protected from and resil- ient to events that can adversely impact health status. The Learning Collaborative: a path to CBO−MA plan partnerships E ditor’s note: The John A. Hartford Foundation, the Administration for Community Living, and The SCAN Foundation fund the Aging and Disability Business Institute ( www.aginganddisabili- ) , led by the Nation- al Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a). Themission of the Aging and Disabili- ty Business Institute is to build and strength- en partnerships between aging and disabil- ity community-based organizations (CBO) and the healthcare system. As a partner of the Aging and Disability Business Institute, ASA is collaborating with n4a on a series of articles and case studies in Aging Today that prepare, educate and support communi- ty-based organizations and healthcare pay- ers to provide quality care and services. Medicare Advantage (MA) has been in existence since 1997 in various itera- tions, but passage of the February 2018 CHRONIC Care Act affected several key aspects of MA programming. In the April 2018 MA Call Letter guidance, the Cen- Measuring Health Security Preparedness Health security affects day-to-day com- munity health, and determines what hap- pens before, during and after crises such

The Index supports state efforts to re- duce health security inequities by identi- fying strengths and opportunities for im- provement, and it is a tool stakeholders can use to collectively improve health se- curity. A sample of the 129 measures ana- lyzed by the Index include: the percentage of bridges that are in good or fair condi- tion; the number of healthcare providers; vaccination rates for children and adults for different infectious diseases (i.e., flu); and the percentage of state public health labs that test for contaminants, such as lead or asbestos. Together, such data can inform mean- ingful discussions and deliberations at the

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The 2019 ASA Award winner Sandra Timmermann: a lifelong advocate for older adults

T he 2019 ASA Award goes to San- dra Timmermann, whose career has intertwined nicely with her contributions to ASA and to the field of aging at large. The ASA Award is presented to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to aging-related research, administration or advocacy. Sandra Timmermann is one of those people who is driven not only to try to im- prove her corner of the world, but also her personal evolution. After a brief 1970s post- college sojourn into the “Mad Men”–like world of Madison Avenue, Timmermann realized that public relations work was not for her, and started looking for a more meaningful (and permanent) pursuit. Timmermann had, as a child, spent countless hours with her grandmother and her father’s much older sisters; she re- alized she was intrigued by aging and also had an interest in teaching, (which she says was one of the few career avenues then open to women). Timmermann com- bined these two interests by specializing in education for older adults—a brand- new concept at the time.

Sandra Timmermann

After earning a doctorate in Educa­ tional Gerontology at Teachers College, Columbia University, Timmermann land- ed a job at AARP as theAssociateDean and then Director of its Institute of Lifelong Learning. “It was my first real job in aging, and it was wonderful,” she says. “Not too many people focused on older adult learn- ing, so I was very active; I chaired the Co- alition of Adult Education Organizations, was on Capitol Hill pushing the Lifelong

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