Maryland Aging in Community

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Notes from the CoP Maryland Aging in Community March 20, 2015

Our Purpose: to provide support through a Community of Practice (CoP) for leaders and visionaries who are creating villages and similar aging in community programs that allow its members to live and age well in their communities with support and advocacy.

Note a list of those who attended is on the final page of this report.

1. Announcements

-Muriel Cole Announces Eastern Shore Event on the Master Aging Planning to be held April 2nd and will be lead my Maureen and Peter of At Home Chesapeake.

-Pazit Aviv reports on an upcoming “Village day in Montgomery County”: May 12 – Secretary of Aging Rona Kramer will present and topics to include– sharing challenges and successes-

-Miriam Kelty reports that WAVE is working on two data systems that will be offered free to villages soon. Also next WAVE meeting to be held on April 27 in Bethesda at the Regional Services Center. Check WAVE website for more details.

-Lisa Walker notes Hyattsville – membership is $20/year – there is a position for a full time senior services coordinator in the city, but the position is not filled as of now.  Another PG County resource: Greenbelt – reminder that GAIL was really the first aging in community entity in Maryland.

– Carol reported on the Sandy Spring a project to build intergenerational connections by using stories and blog writing between High School, college and Village residents. She would be wiling to visit other Villages to share this approach and engage local writing teachers in facilitating such a multi-age writing interaction to strengthen intergenerational connections.

2. Old Business

The CoP Legislative work group report –Our Village letter sent to Governor Hogan – unfortunately we received no response. Content and intent of letter was included in the Communities for a Lifetime information in the 2014 Boomer Council report. Maureen notes feedback from Delegate Hubbard and Wes Queen who sent regrets as unable to attend this meeting.

Discussion – the next impetus for the legislative subcommittee will be to research WHO – Towards an Age Friendly World and how the villages might propel this idea forward in Maryland to intersect with the work of Maryland Aging in Community initiatives.

Group discussed the idea of building Elder Friendly communities- some suggest using the World Health Organization WHO checklist. DC has already been investigating this through Gail Kohn (originally of Capital Hill Village) heads the Age Friendly initiatives in D.C. The Sandy Spring Aging Well group is also exploring use of the WHO materials as a helpful tool to educate a community. Members note there is a wide variety of information on the web about building Elder Friendly communities including the AARP website. Some feel this might be useful for Villages.

3. Presentation

Tom Klaus, PhD was the invited speaker for this meeting. He came to share his learning and experience for leaders of non-profits.  He presented a model of how leadership looks in the 21st century.  He began by noting that the great man theory (only men have something that makes them leaders) is disappearing.  The issue of this COP –for those of us leading programs to promote “Aging well in Maryland” is a complex problem and the more eyes on the problem, the better the way to solve the complexity. He shared the “wicked problem” concept those challenges that seem to have impossible solutions.  What we are facing is a complex systems or complex program. These types of programs are: Dynamic, massively entangled, emergent and have a robust adaptive ability

What is a leader of a Village program to do? What do we believe are the competencies (knowledge, skills, abilities) individuals need to lead effectively in complexity (to address complex issues): to lead collaboratively, to possess management skills, be able to manage, to be open-minded and not see familiar structures and try innovative approaches.  It takes creativity and the capacity to collaborate and share leadership.  In addition, skillful leaders need to understand the determinates of what they are working on, to state the determinants of aging well, build collaborative relationships and communications, stay focused, have webs of leadership, build bridges not walls, set realistic goals and manage expectations, have trust.  He indicates that it helps to have a process orientation to frame this work as a journey, not just an end point. It is critical the leader know how to keep hope alive and prevent the tea form dwelling on negative aspects.  Remember motivation is an important leader attribute!

For leaders it is critical to remember that listening matters.  So often we spend more effort on getting our thoughts and messages out and not enough focus on listening.  This needs to be repeated constantly.  Communication is key. The best leadership style is to lead from beside-not a top-down approach. Walk beside your team.  This is a collaborative model.  Mangers need to set realistic goals and manage expectations, and do this by understanding the community.  Know the limitations and weakness of your volunteer team. We need a diverse structure.

Since the Village model is about building community it is a social change and should be owned by the people who have the issue/problem. They know it is their problem and feel empowered to solve it.  This is critical –you need to have context experts as leaders more than just “content” experts.  This means if your advisory board is full of content expert s it is time to add in some context experts form the neighborhood. It is suggested to use Guidelines with allow your team to take charge-not a narrow checklist of how to do something.  Flexibility helps provide support. We must find a way to let everybody’s voice be heard. A good leader for a social change project will pay attention to the power balance and to consensus.  It is very important for leaders to remember that “change happens at the speed of trust”

4. New Business

We discussed our meeting frequency: Suggestion to have the CoP host two face to face meetings a year and two virtual meetings. We will explore how to set up virtual meetings. Another strategy might be to meet in smaller gatherings among a group of 5 or 6 Villages leaders.  Some topics for discussion: Diversity and Outreach, Age Friendly Communities, Partnerships

Our next gathering will be Monday September 21 or 28 – Maureen will check for room availability.

New Work Group Volunteers needed:  Gary Klauber and Renee Frederickson are interested in pursuing Age Friendly Communities and Legislative issues.

Other work group members sought to help with planning the Fall Meeting. Interested? Email Carol or Maureen.

In further discussion there was mention of creating more of a logo and outreach to others in the state of Maryland who need to learn about this CoP.  We need to find volunteers to help with this workgroup.

Members discussed diversity issues and outreach. Several village programs and the national VtV are looking for guidance on this issue. Various initial opinions and perspectives were shared. Recommend further discussion on this sensitive and timely issue.

5. Attendees

Rosemary Allender – Certified Geriatric Care Manager – interest in starting a village in Bowie (PG County)

Jacqueline D. Byrd – Attorney – interest in starting a village in Bowie (PG County)

Lisa Walker – Founder – Hyattsville Aging in Place (PG County)

Peter Engstrom  – At Home Chesapeake (Anne Arundel County) VtV National Board

Pauline Watson – NW Neighbors Connecting (Baltimore County) 170 members, 2 yrs. old

Katrina Ositelu – AmeriCorps – Working with MAC covering multiple counties on Eastern Shore to create emerging villages. She brings a Mediation perspective to her work.

Dr. Renee Frederickson – Eastern Shore MAC (Wicomico, Somerset, Dorchester, Worcester) –emerging villages

Eddie Rivas – Rte. 1 Corridor, College Park – emerging village, also operates Vertical Village in Arlington and works with WAVE.

Gary Klauber – Silver Spring Village – 84 members –New 1/2 time coordinator now working on grants, community learning to deal with death of a member.

Halvah Ball – New Director for – Northwest Neighbors Connecting, Lane Levine in new role establishing another new Village for the Organization.

Jackie Perry – Northwest Neighbors Connecting

Miriam Kelty – Bannackburn Bethesda –part of WAVE (52 villages)-announcement of May 12 meeting of villages in Montgomery County.

Muriel Cole – Homeports – Health Fair April 2 – whole community must be healthy to be able to age well so the Homeports plan is to include a focus on wellness and health.

Sheila Roman – Commission on Aging in Baltimore County – emerging villages using existing 21 senior centers

Mabel Lake Murray – Commissioner on Aging in Baltimore County

Marlene Siegel – Commissioner on Aging in Baltimore County

Tom Klaus – Presenter for this meeting a consultant who provides training on leadership and evaluation.

Beah Zander – Northwest Neighbors Connecting

Pazit Aziv – Village Coordinator of Montgomery County –Member of  Tacoma Park Village –Notes city of TP has a city funded position also notes  new website

Mona Negm – Muslim Communities – forming

Others not present but sending report:

Mike Greenhut – Olney Home for Life –OHFL has found a way to fund positions through 2 resources, SCSEP and Volunteer Maryland.

Bob Cohen – Carroll County –Continues working with the county Aging and Disability commission and with McDaniel College on survey for interest in village.

Joan Liversidge – Sandy Spring Aging Well With Friends – Continues to work on a grant exploring expanding a model from an affordable housing and CCRC model to create a Village like intergenerational coalition. They are now training friendly visitors and launching new blog and website. Group will be building a coalition with schools and multiple interfaith local communities.

Remember Save the date Sept. 21 or 28

Contact Carol if you have a blog post idea or a blog post volunteer.

Let us know if you have an idea for a new Intern in September.


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