The Great American Senior Show

SE4 Regional Area Agency on Aging Conference with Florida Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Branham

September 22, 2022 Sam Yates Season 2 Episode 84
The Great American Senior Show
SE4 Regional Area Agency on Aging Conference with Florida Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Branham
Show Notes Transcript

Florida's Secretary of the Department Elder Affairs, Michelle  Branham is among several guests on this special edition of the Great American Senior Show. Recorded during the 2022 SE4A Regional Conference of the Area Agencies on Aging, host Sam Yates finds out what some of the special concerns facing leaders in the care of our aging population are as experts look into the future.

From housing senior homeless populations to developing programs that measure Inclusiveness to allow Area Agencies to better understand their reginal demographics, you'll find out information that was revealed and shared during the conference.

As Florida continues to set a high standard of senior care, Florida's Secretary for the Department of Elder Affairs demonstrates and advocates for innovations in leadership and new programs to better protect our seniors and their caregivers.

We'll get a tantalizing look at a unique Florida program headed up by the State's First Lady that could set a new standard in senior care and senior involvement in giving back to the community. Details of that program will be forthcoming here on the Great American Senior Show podcast.

Stay Tuned!

Sam Yates:

Hello everyone and welcome to another exciting episode of The Great American Senior Show. I'm your gray haired host Sam Yates and this episode is coming to you from Amelia Island, Florida. At the nine state regional conference of Area Agencies on Aging. Nearly 600 Area Agency on Aging representatives, along with various state officials from nine states all here to share information and innovations about how our aging populations, along with caregivers can be better served. Florida is one of the leaders in helping seniors. Michelle Branham, Secretary of Florida's Elder Affairs was a key presenter and provided a leadership role for senior care after the conference. Would you like to share some thoughts of why it's important that we all get together as a large group and communicate out to our seniors on things that they need to know about?

Michelle Branham, Florida Secretary Department of Elder Services:

Thanks for the question, Sam, I think you know, our aging network can be confusing and complicated. One of the worst things I hear is I wish I would have known about that sooner. So I think coming together collaboratively, not only helps us to get to where we need to go with seniors quicker. But also it helps us face the toughest problems I think we've historically ever faced in the aging network. So I don't believe that we can do it on our own. I think it's going to take the whole team working together innovatively to do that.

Sam Yates:

Secretary Branham joined with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, to challenge the conference experts and caregivers to find innovative ways to reach out to our seniors, the great American senior show was doing just that at the conference, as I presented a session on how to use podcast to communicate to seniors to help them age in place, and in the safety of their homes.

Michelle Branham, Florida Secretary Department of Elder Services:

So one, I think you need to really engage the administration and the legislature the way that I said, and I think that's critical. Governor DeSantis was all in for innovation and providing unique opportunities in the aging space and putting seniors first. So you need one leadership that's going to do that. So that when you come up with these great ideas, you can implement them and put them into the infrastructure. So I think really, it's going to take a lot of collaboration and effort to face. Like we talked about homelessness, being homeless the first time when you're in your 70s. And that being really difficult, and learning to find better ways to sustain in your place of your choosing usually at home, and how can we help caregivers so that they can be less overwhelmed, more able intentional and purposeful in the work that they're doing to provide care? I think that's what's going to do and I do think staying at home is where we all want to be. So how can we learn to do that longer. And I think it's a combination, a couple of things staying healthier, and being intentional about the interventions in our own lifestyle to be healthier. Also about working to promote caregivers and caregiver support and in conjunction with the folks that were caring for. So I think those are some of the big topics that will be able to keep us at home aging and living well.

Sam Yates:

I'll have a final question for Secretary Branham. But I also spoke to many of the conference attendees from outside Florida. Carolyn Fortner of the Middle Alabama Agency on Aging, attended the conference to unveil a pilot program in Alabama that could be duplicated to provide shelter to elder abuse victims. Today, you're making a very serious presentation to our attendees. Why is it important that they listened carefully.

Carolyn Fortener:

I think it's important because we all want to be able to age with dignity and with independence. And elder justice, I think is an important component of being able to as we say age well and live well in the community.

Sam Yates:

But you have a pilot program that's going to be coming soon to your region. Tell us a little bit about that.

Carolyn Fortener:

Our pilot project has to do with developing a temporary shelter for older individuals who've been abused. And in developing that model. We've partnered quite a bit with law enforcement, first responders, District Attorney's offices and others who are involved in intervening when older individuals are victims or suspected victims of abuse.

Sam Yates:

We'll share those with all the attendees and anyone in the country that wants to listen but if they would like to have more information directly from you how many they reach out,

Carolyn Fortener:

they can go to our website, which is a www dot m for a dot o RG just thank you very much for this opportunity to highlight the importance of elder justice and justice for all Americans, especially older Americans in this country. So thank you so much for the opportunity. It

Sam Yates:

is my pleasure. Another new program focused on how to create an Inclusion Council presented by Chanika Piggott of South Carolina, the program called The Making of an Inclusion Council offered insight on how to create an organization that could successfully meet the needs of its customer by knowing the demographics of its population, as well as the employees who work for the organization. What is the focus of your presentation? And why is it important?

Chanika Piggot:

The focus of our presentation, the title of it is called The Making of an Inclusion Council and the importance of it because we want organizations to focus on diversity and inclusion within their own organizations. And so we'll be sharing what we've done within our organization and implementation through the implementation of an Inclusion Council.

Sam Yates:

In the senior care segment, how does that fit in with the overall care model,

Chanika Piggot:

we are actually going to be focused in in the near future, I'm really looking at seniors in isolation. And it's important because we want to look at you have to know your population. And you have to know what their needs are, and how to communicate them. And knowing different backgrounds and being able to make that connection with people that you find what they need. If you don't know what if you don't know anything about a person, then you don't know how to service them. And so because we're all different, and we just have different backgrounds. And like you said an aging is it's just good to know about that person so that you can help that person. And even in language, you have somebody who has a different language, just knowing that person's culture and their background is a better way to serve them. And in the Asian community, it is important because as people age, I have a 91 year old mother in law is dear to my heart. And if you don't know her, where she comes from, while back what her needs are, how can you service her? So that's, that's the biggest. That's the biggest thing what we want to try to get across

Sam Yates:

today, when you mention this to folks and explain it. What's the reaction?

Chanika Piggot:

The reaction? Well, this will be our first time let me say this doing this type of presentation. So that back home, when we do the pre these presentations and talk about diversity inclusion within our organization, it is well received is very well received. As a matter of fact, Sheila Welch, who is our Director of vantage point is the one who encouraged us to put in for this and to apply to come here to speak today. And so they also in that realm of our organization, we focus on diversity inclusion, as well.

Sam Yates:

Well, I wish you good luck today. And I know that you're going to do a great job.

Unknown:

Thank you so much, Sam.

Sam Yates:

From the multiple attendees we sampled all agree they found the regional conference provided critical information that they could put to use immediately in their own area agency on aging. I have with me today, James Davis. James, you're from Mississippi? Absolutely. Yes, sir. What is the most important thing that you are taking away from this regional conference

James Davis:

is so much information that I'm learning here, I'm the home and community based coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Human Services. And I have a wide range of services that we offer, and I'm over, like transportation outreach, homemaker, adult daycare, senior centers, and coming to this conference really gave me the knowledge that I need to take back and go to Mississippi, because with senior centers, and one thing that I didn't learn from one of the segments is about elder abuse and crime, you know, against I didn't know it was so much crime, and they're being targeted right now. And I didn't realize that.

Sam Yates:

That's one of the topics that we have covered with some of the cyber experts from around the world on this particular program. When we talk about letting the people in your region know, this is a tool that we like to use to let people in the communities now how do you communicate right now?

James Davis:

Right now is in person, some of them, they're getting used to doing zoom, but they're not too familiar with it. So right now, we're still in the process of educating them on how to use the technology. But so most of them are still in person or door to door through outreach coordinators.

Sam Yates:

How large an area do you serve? Well,

James Davis:

we, from where I'm at, I'm with the State Unit on Aging. And so we're the state office, we do the entire state.

Sam Yates:

Well, I want to offer you an opportunity. I know you're here today. But once you get back into your office, I want to do a feature on you about 15 minutes about what your programs are all about for the state of Mississippi so that we can put a little attention on those as well.

James Davis:

Absolutely, man, I would love to. I would love to do that. That will be great. So as soon as I get back to my office, we definitely can change that information.

Sam Yates:

And we can go from there. James It's my pleasure. Anything else you'd like to add

James Davis:

on? No, sir. No, sir. There see it up. Appreciate the interview.

Sam Yates:

Thank you very much. By special thanks to Mr. Davis, and I look forward to featuring him on an upcoming episode of The Great American Senior Show. Incidentally, a number of conference attendees won a raffle to have their area agency on aging or state representative featured on an upcoming episode of The Great American Senior Show. As promised one final question for Florida's Secretary of Elder Affairs. According to our contacts within the law enforcement agencies in Florida, elder abuse here and nationwide continues to be a major problem. Is Florida working on that problem?

Michelle Branham, Florida Secretary Department of Elder Services:

I'm so glad you brought up that topic. And you're right. It's something that keeps me awake at night. I think some of the training that we're doing in collaboration with police chiefs and sheriffs departments is really critical. Because I think we can do more as a community again, but it's going to can take a little bit of concern and awareness to help. I was talking at one of the senior communities and this was the topic we were discussing. A lot of that abuse and neglect is happening in scams over the internet. So just putting out a lot more awareness about the things that they can be looking for. We can be looking forward together I'm I'm a victim of them myself sometimes, but also to to make sure that bondsman programs and important patient advocacy groups are built up to the places that they need to be so they can advocate on behalf of our most vulnerable adults and make sure that we're doing that often and much. Great.

Sam Yates:

Thank you very much. As Secretary Branham spoke with the great American senior show, we learned new details of First Lady Casey DeSantis is Hope, Florida, a Pathway to Purpose. It is a new program that you'll be hearing more about right here. It's a program that will be administered by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs to help get more assistance directly to seniors throughout Florida, while creating opportunities for seniors to themselves give back to their communities. Part of that program allows individuals organizations and businesses to become hope heroes and lead the initiative. Yep, you guessed it, the great American Seed your show podcast has registered to do our part to help the First Lady and Secretary Branham explain the program and features of the state's success stories. We hope to have DeSantis and Branham both here in person to help spread the word all those great new cars now supported by the great American senior show. Until our next episode, I'm Sam Yates your gray haired host to be great American senior show. Have a great day everybody