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Regional grants awarded to support community aging

HUTCHINSON -- The Southwest Initiative Foundation has awarded eight grants totaling $275,960 to support Age-Friendly Community projects in southwest Minnesota.

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HUTCHINSON -- The Southwest Initiative Foundation has awarded eight grants totaling $275,960 to support Age-Friendly Community projects in southwest Minnesota.

The grants coincide with the foundation’s “Creating Age-Friendly Communities” report, released earlier this year, which assesses the needs of residents 55 and older in the region and identifies potential strategies specific to supporting aging residents.

All of the projects represent unique and effective ways that southwest Minnesota organizations are using to address aging, the foundation said in a news release.

Grant recipients include Prairie Five Community Action Council Inc., for community-based care coordination; Lower Sioux Indian Community for nurturing intergenerational learning; Redwood Area Communities Foundation and Redwood Area Hospital for a telecommunication medicine health care pilot; and Redwood Falls Parks and Recreation Department for senior programming equipment at the Redwood Area Community Center.

The “Creating Age-Friendly Communities” report found that 19 percent of residents in southwest Minnesota are age 65 and older, 5 percent higher than the state average. More than one-quarter of these residents live alone which can lead to isolation and difficulty accessing services, a problem that is compounded for aging residents by various factors in rural areas, including living on farms.

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While a wide range of services are available in the region, they are not equally available to all residents. Home health services, home-delivered meals and volunteer opportunities were some of the services most readily available, while caregiver training services, transportation services, adult day health care, respite care and companion services were the least readily available. The full report can be viewed at www.swifoundation.org/age-friendly-communities .

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