Thursday, July 24, 2014

Action plan for assisted living launched

Taking the next step forward to determine a long-term housing solution for our aging population, the Assisted Living Action Group launched its strategic action plan, “Aging With Dignity,” yesterday morning at the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre.
Based on feedback from strategic planning workshops, the “Aging at Home Survey for Older Adults,” ongoing research, and community-based discussions, the plan outlines a mission statement and the values held by A.L.A.G., as well as the goals and objectives it wants to achieve.

These goals are as follows:
•#1—Provide housing that is affordable, accessible, and supportive
1. To procure the most suitable site in the district for an assisted living facility;
2. To secure funding for the construction of an assisted living facility within the district; and
3. To identify and report on methods of sustaining utilities and resources.
•#2—Ensure the availability of all necessary programs and services
1. To analyze data and identify gaps in services and programs;
2. To maximize the number of partners involved in providing services; and
3. To create a system of transportation to allow residents to access services outside the building.
•#3—Create a safe environment in the areas of protection and health
1. To ensure that all safety requirements are met both inside and outside the facility;
2. To provide access to educational programs in the area of elder abuse and personal health; and
3. To co-ordinate and expand the efforts of service providers.
•#4—Increase the percentage of seniors remaining in the Rainy River District to 90 percent or more
1. To identify the possible clients who would be assisted by A.L.A.G.; and
2. To increase access to information regarding available supports.
An A.L.A.G. property site investigation team has been busy checking out possible locations for a future assisted living facility, and has looked at several in Fort Frances and Emo.
Each site presents a unique set of advantages and disadvantages.
No decision on a site has been made, but the A.L.A.G. core planning team has
determined the following criteria to be critical for the final site selection:
•within a 15-minute drive to a full-service hospital for emergency care (e.g., heart attacks);
•aesthetically-pleasing landscape;
•centrally located to services (e.g., clinic, dentist, optometrist, shopping, recreation, library, etc.);
•serviced or potentially-serviced lot;
•affordable and economical; and
•preferable to allow for future expansion.
A team will review all the sites and rank them based on the above criteria, with a projected selection date being the end of June.
Meanwhile, the group also is working on getting funding to do a feasibility study.
The local group also has been in contact with the Good Samaritan Independent Living Facility in International Falls, where senior housing director Danette Nixon has offered to act as a resource in its developmental stage of planning.
A.L.A.G. chair Erma Armit said yesterday’s launch went well, and was a chance to let stakeholders know what A.L.A.G. has been up to since its last strategic planning session in October and the current direction it is taking.
“We want to try and keep the key partners in the loop as much as possible and encourage people to step up if they see something . . . to add to the plan,” she remarked.
“None of us have all the answers but together we can find them.
“We’re really focusing on the community need as seen by the community, and the solutions to meet those needs as defined by the community,” Armit added.
The A.L.A.G. core planning team consists of older adult volunteers, as well as staff from Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc., the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board, Northwestern Health Unit, and Canadian Mental Health Older Adults Program.
The facilitator/co-ordinator is Ian Simpson.

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