271094 Preserving Sufficient Aging Programs and Staffing to Maintain and Improve Wellness

Monday, October 29, 2012

Patricia M. Alt, PhD , Health Science Department, Towson University, Towson, MD
In order to improve the communications skills and professionalism of direct care workers and volunteers, the Aging Communications Training Project (ACT) developed and disseminated a training curriculum, based on extensive evidence-based research. This project occurred with support from the Retirement Research Foundation and the SPRY Foundation. Following development and pre-testing with employees and volunteers from the Baltimore City Commission on Aging and Retirement Education, the curriculum was finalized in 2007. Area Agency on Aging Master Trainers from thirteen states were selected and trained in its use at the 2007 National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4A) Conference. The Master Trainers then trained at least twenty local trainers in the aging network in their states. Extremely positive evaluations were received in interviews and surveys for the next two years. However, with major shifts in public and private funding for agency staffing and services in the 2010-2012 time frame, careful staff and volunteer training was a common target for cuts. This presentation reports on an extensive 2012 follow up survey of the ACT Master Trainers, and of the local aging agency and public health staff and volunteers they trained; including their perspectives on the effects of shifts in funding, training, and services available through the Area Agencies on Aging and related aging network organizations. Implications of these changes for the wellness of future elders are described and discussed.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Program planning
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the major impacts of budget restraints on the continuation of training for the providers of aging services. 2. Describe the perspectives of those responsible for training others to work with older adults on the effect of programmatic cuts on the maintenance and improvement of clients' wellness.

Keywords: Public Health Policy, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have done the research entirely myself, including developing the original ACT curriculum and doing the training.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.