The Central Vermont Council on Aging (CVCOA) announces that its Enhancing Social Connection through Arts and Technology program recently received a 2022 Aging Innovations Award from USAging, one of the highest honors presented by USAging to its members. Enhancing Social Connection through Arts and Technology, which provides creative activities, access to technology and training, and social connection for older adults in their homes, was among 43 local aging programs to receive honors during USAging’s 47th Annual Conference and Tradeshow, July 10-13 in Austin, TX. The awards program is supported by iN2L, provider of the leading engagement and social connection platform for seniors, offering a foundation for activities that facilitate social interaction, cognitive and physical exercise, education, reminiscing, areas of interest and memory support engagement.
The 2022 USAging Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards program recognizes Area Agencies on Aging and Title VI Native American Aging Programs that have developed and implemented cutting-edge concepts, innovative ideas and successful strategies to support older adults and their caregivers. Among the selection criteria was the ease with which other agencies could replicate the program in their communities.
“Through the Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards, we salute our members’ outstanding accomplishments and hold up their programs in the hopes that doing so will seed replication and additional innovation by their peers around the country,” said Sandy Markwood, Chief Executive Officer of USAging. “We applaud our members for their tireless efforts to creatively develop vital services and supports for older adults, as well as their caregivers and people with disabilities in communities nationwide.”
Through the Enhancing Social Connection through Arts and Technology Program, CVCOA has provided over 250 Creative Care Kits filled with enough supplies and materials to last for many months. Participants have the option to engage with a Creative Companion volunteer, who helps inspire and motivate people to engage with the kits through regular communication, sharing of work, and initiating conversations about creativity. To help facilitate this connection, CVCOA also includes devices, technology training, and internet connection counseling to help bridge the digital divide through creative engagement.
The activities in the kits are designed by professional teaching artists who were trained in creative aging best practices through the Vermont Arts Council and Lifetime Arts. So far, the kits have included watercolor activities, storytelling through drawing, and writing art inspired poetry. CVCOA is actively developing additional kits to provide older adults with creative freedom and choice.
“Engaging in creative activities is a powerful way to connect people,” said Luke Rackers, Director of Development and Communications at the Central Vermont Council on Aging (CVCOA). “Older adults need opportunities to engage creatively at home, so that everyone has the opportunity for self-expression, creative skill-building, and meaningful social connection.”
The 2022 USAging Aging Innovations Awards honored traditional and new strategies in a range of categories, including Advocacy, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Elder Abuse Prevention, Healthy Aging, Home and Community-Based Services, Nutrition, Social Engagement and Workforce Development.
All winners are showcased in the USAging Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards Showcase.
Central Vermont Council on Aging (CVCOA) supports older Central Vermonters to age with dignity and choice in 54 towns. Visit the CVCOA website at www.cvcoa.org or call the CVCOA Helpline at 1-802-477-1364 for more information or assistance. CVCOA is located at 59 North Main Street, Suite 200 in Barre with regional offices located in Morrisville, Randolph, South Royalton and Rochester.
USAging is the national association representing and supporting the network of Area Agencies on Aging and advocating for the Title VI Native American Aging Programs. Our members help older adults and people with disabilities, throughout the United States, live with optimal health, well-being, independence and dignity in their homes and communities. USAging is dedicated to supporting the success of our members through advancing public policy, sparking innovation, strengthening the capacity of our members, raising their visibility and working to drive excellence in the fields of aging and home and community-based services. For more information about USAging, AAAs or Title VI programs, visit www.usaging.org.