Max B. Rothman, JD, LL.M.
As the Area Agency on Aging for Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, the Alliance serves as the administrative funding hub for $35 million in state and federal money for home- and community-based services. The Alliance is responsible for ensuring program integrity and fiscal accountability among subcontractors providing direct services through a system of competitive awards, contract management, program monitoring and technical assistance. In the past year, more than 86,000 people received home- and community-based services through our network.
The goal of our system is to allow older adults to “age in place.” Using state and federal funds, providers in the Alliance’s network ensure that elders in need – particularly those who are low-income, disabled, living alone – receive home- and community-based services, thereby reducing the risk that they will be placed in a nursing home. As a result, the area served by the Alliance has the lowest rate of Medicaid nursing home utilization in the state.
Our Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) serves as the single point of access for information on services available not only to older adults, but also to adults with disabilities, as well as to their caregivers. The ADRC handled over 100,000 calls in 2016. ADRC staff assists clients with eligibility determination for state and federally-funded long-term care programs.
The SHINE program (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) provides un-biased counseling concerning Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance. SHINE volunteers offer free counseling to older adults and young, disabled individuals about their health insurance options. Clients are assisted in understanding Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medigap insurance, Part D insurance, and to complete financial assistance program applications to help pay for Medicare. SHINE Volunteers also provide Medicare 101 presentations, attend health fairs, and provide counseling via telephone and in person at partner counseling sites.
Since 2009 the Alliance has received one Innovations Award and 13 Achievement Awards from n4a for its cutting-edge programs. The Alliance was recently awarded an Aging Achievement Award from n4a for Integrating the WHO/AARP Age Friendly Model into AAA Area Plans. The Alliance for Aging has been a partner in Miami’s Age Friendly Initiative, and joined the WHO/AARP Network of Age Friendly Communities in November 2016. The new Area Plan has been made more useful for our community by aligning it with the eight core areas of the AARP/World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly Community model: Housing; Transportation; Outdoor Spaces/Buildings; Communication/Information; Social Participation; Employment/Civic Engagement; Respect/Social Inclusion; and Community/Health Services.
The Office of Planning and Population Health continues its efforts to achieve the goal of empowering older adults and their caregivers to live active, healthy lives and to improve their mental and physical health status. It also delivers programs to further the Alliance’s goal of ensuring the legal rights of older adults are protected and to prevent their abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Prevention program delivers presentations to promote awareness and education regarding elder abuse and ways to prevent them.
Evidence-based healthy aging programs offer workshops in both Spanish and English at community centers, senior living housing complexes, and faith-based organizations. The Alliance is one of only four area agencies in Florida to provide the Veteran-Directed Home and Community-Based Services Program, which allows veterans with service-related disabilities to live more independently in their communities and avoid costly nursing home placement by recruiting and hiring their own caregivers.
The Alliance is also committed to providing work opportunities for older adults. We have partnered with ReServe, a program recruiting older professionals to contribute their skills to local nonprofit organizations, and with organizations that administer the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), which matches low-income older adults with nonprofits that can provide training in job-related skills that enhance opportunities for employment. In 2013, the Alliance for Aging received the Department of Elder Affairs’ Soaring Eagle Award for having a strong record of training and hiring SCSEP participants and for having elder-friendly policies.
We continue to seek new, innovative ways to address the needs of elders in our community and to carry out our mission of promoting and advocating for the optimal quality of life for older adults and their families.