Many people in rural Oregon communities rely on the helping hands of their neighbors. There's a small community in eastern Oregon where Barb and her neighbors live at least 30 minutes from the nearest town. Distance is a hardship that can lead to food insecurity, especially for isolated older adults. Barb saw this hardship and acted. Every Friday, she serves a community meal that feeds about 15 people and delivers more to those who are homebound. She is the shopper, cook, cleaner, program coordinator, and fundraiser for this weekly event. So far, funding for Barb's informal meal site hasn't been granted, so she often has to get creative with minimal funds and supplies to maintain this critical lifeline for her neighbors.
Sustaining her community is what Barb chooses to do in retirement. Who will help her when she needs support in the future, though? There are communities with program gaps like this all over Oregon, but there isn't always someone like Barb to fill them.
To the group of people Barb feeds on Fridays, she is a gift.
To AGE+, Barb is Shared Future Oregon.
The amount of accessible, affordable housing available for older adults remains a challenge in rural areas, especially where communities are still rebuilding after devastating wildfires. AGE+'s model for quickly and efficiently creating housing to help alleviate this crisis has reached an exciting stage in Talent, OR! All 22 housing units have been laid on their foundations! Watching these units get built and transported to where they will become homes has been a fulfilling experience, and we look forward to accepting applications.
Our site in Madras continues to move forward, and we will share that progress with you soon!
Vaccination Uptake Initiative
In April, we announced that AGE+ received a federal grant from NCOA to improve Covid-19 and flu vaccination uptake in rural Oregon. We now have partners in over eight counties and growing! By holding vaccination drives during scheduled community events, we hope more older adults and their family members will consider getting life-saving vaccinations. Some creative partnerships include making vaccines available during rummage sales, at a community internet access hub, in the parking lot after religious services, and during a well-attended meatloaf dinner!
We welcome all partnerships from across the state. Please join us to normalize getting Covid-19 boosters and flu shots at the same time. If you represent a senior center, community center, or a community-based organization in a rural county, please get in touch with Julia Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or Olivia Robinson at email@example.com.
AGE+ now supports 3 communities' Circles of Care programming! Our original site in The Dalles continues to thrive with a core group of 20+ volunteers who serve 30 members. At our second site in Hood River, we have a wide network in partnership with the Hood River Valley Adult Center (HRVAC). Together, AGE+ and HRVAC took over an existing volunteer program in the area and now host 40+ volunteers and serve twice that many members! The most regularly requested service is transportation to medical appointments near and far.
Now, with a local team in place, we aim to increase volunteer participation in Talent. This location will coincide with our housing development, and we are excited to broaden our network in this culturally rich community. For more information about volunteering in Talent, contact Luis Ibáñez Dalponte at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shared Future Oregon, a Multi-Sector Plan for Living and Aging to Become an Age-Friendly State, is gaining momentum. As we and our partners move into the next planning phase, we concentrate on five major goal areas: housing, behavioral health, economic vitality, the workforce, and caregiving and long-term care services. These goals are rooted in equity, will strive to bridge people in communities across the state, both urban and rural, and remain focused on supporting all generations of Oregonian families. We eagerly await in-depth work with stakeholders at the Age-Friendly Summit in October to gather vital cross-sector insights to propel us to the next phase.
Nominations are now open for the 2024 Ageless Awards! Each year, we have the privilege of honoring extraordinary Oregonians 75+ who have made lifelong contributions to their communities and continue to do so today. If you know an inspiring older adult, please complete a nomination form by October 20th!
There is a lot of excitement happening behind the scenes at AGE+! Our next briefing paper comes out this fall, focusing on Oregon's older veterans. Also, we are proud to announce that AGE+ is a Community Partner of KOIN! Watch for our PSA on the air! Here's a sneak peek!
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