By Emily Gowdey-Backus
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island College Foundation’s 2017 Building an Age-Friendly Rhode Island campaign was boosted by a $121,000 Tufts Health Plan Foundation grant, according to a Thursday statement by the school.
Led by RIC faculty members Marianne Raimondo, assistant professor of management; Constance Milbourne, associate professor of marketing and co-principal investigator; and Rachel Filinson, professor of gerontology, the project aims to identify and address gaps in services and care provided to elderly Rhode Islanders.
“The momentum is building around age-friendly communities, and we are excited to partner with state and local leaders in their work to consider and include older adults,” said President of Tufts Health Plan Foundation Nora Moreno Cargie.
Raimondo, the project’s principal investigator, said RIC researchers are “ready to move forward to implement strategies” in making the state a more age-friendly environment.
The project’s 2016 Strategic Plan found nine key areas in which supports do not meet the needs of Rhode Islanders: communication and information, community and social engagement, economic security, food security and nutrition assistance, health care coverage, housing, supports to remain at home, transportation and walkability in public areas.
The goals of the 2017 Building an Age-Friendly Rhode Island campaign include advocating for age-friendly policies and legislative reforms, enlisting municipal officials in piloting age-friendly initiatives in cities and towns, recruiting business leaders to adopt age-friendly business practices, integrating behavioral health care into senior housing and designing interconnected senior hubs in select neighborhoods in Providence.
Research that went into the 2016 Strategic Plan was bolstered by the support of the Aging in Community Subcommittee’s report on age-friendliness in Rhode Island, which was aided by Tufts Health Plan funding and RIC faculty.
In addition, recent grant funding will pay for the integration of age-friendly research into the community by The Providence Center, the Senior Center Directors’ Association and Partnership for a Greater Future Providence, as well as faculty stipends, communications, meetings, events and contracts.