Partners in Mission
Aging Care Connections is a La Grange-based nonprofit that provides older adults and their families with guidance and support to age well. CMF has partnered with Aging Care Connections since the Foundation’s inception in 1995. Here are some highlights from our conversation with Debra Verschelde, Executive Director.
The Foundation has supported Aging Care Connections since its inception. How has our longtime partnership helped drive your mission?
Aging Care Connections serves more than 9,000 individuals annually. The funding we’ve received from CMF has given us the flexibility to address the specific and changing needs of our older adult population, so that they can age well within our community for as long as possible. Beyond our grant funding, we have participated in nearly every opportunity that the Foundation has offered: capacity building programs, special grant opportunities, and board trainings, among others. These opportunities have allowed us to receive training that we otherwise could never have provided on our own.
The Aging Well Neighborhood is one of your signature programs and it encompasses a wide network of community partnerships. Tell us a little bit about the program and its impact.
The Aging Well Neighborhood (AWN) was created in January 2014 by Aging Care Connections, in partnership with Rush University Medical Center’s Population Health and Aging and supported by Community Memorial Foundation. Its aim is to create a comprehensive, well-integrated “neighborhood” of services and health resources for older adults, in order to improve health outcomes.
Aging Care Connections’ Bridge and AIMS Models are a large part of the AWN program. The transitional care programs assist clients with non-medical barriers to healthcare, and also provide linkages for clients returning home from the hospital or skilled nursing facility. By their very nature, the programs rely on frequent collaboration with community partners like AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center La Grange, AMITA Medical Group in Westchester and La Grange Family Medicine, among others.
Most recently, we have provided Bridge and AIMS services to COVID clients, helping them navigate telehealth and developing written agendas for follow-up physician appointments. We’ve provided emotional support to clients and caregivers; coordinated emergency home delivered meals and grocery delivery services; and connected clients with mental health support and virtual socialization activities.
Describe the Foundation in three words. Leaders, innovators, conveners.
We feel that with Community Memorial Foundation we have a partner in our mission — a partner invested in the health and well-being of older adults. Foundation staff roll up their sleeves to help us tackle any challenges or barriers to the success of the programs they support. The Foundation is one of the best things that has happened to Aging Care Connections and the region it serves.