Healthy aging is the process by which American seniors, age 65 and older, maintain physical and mental health, engage socially, and remain active and independent in their communities for as long as they are able. Although some seniors have health conditions that require facility care, seniors with minimal health needs may age-in-community, meaning that they remain in their homes with supportive services provided by nonprofit organizations within the community. Aging-in-community also reduces the costs of long-term care, which will continue to grow as the Baby Boom generation (born between 1946-1964) ages.
Source: Root Cause
We are facing a rapidly aging population in the U.S., however, very few foundations fund in the space of aging and not a lot of individual philanthropic dollars go to this field. Many experts I spoke with expressed concern that this country will not be able to meet the demands of the unbelievably high aging population if more money and resources aren’t devoted to this sector.
Presently, there is no single indicator that defines healthy aging effectively for all seniors. Individuals who age-in-community require different service matrices to support a variety of needs. Accordingly, nonprofit organizations are developing specific measures to evaluate the services they offer. Services should include the following key components:
Experts working in the field of aging were asked to recommend nonprofits that work in one or more of the following areas: 1) health care, care-giving, and long-term support; 2) housing; 3) economic security; and 4) other services, which includes nonprofits that work in the areas of transportation, civic engagement, socialization and prevention of elderly abuse. Types of nonprofits could include direct-service providers, coalitions, advocacy organizations, associations, or research organizations.
Aging-in-community can succeed only if seniors have access to supportive services that allow them to remain healthy in their homes. Community-based supportive services, such as those provided by nonprofits, can offer any combination of services from the following key service categories: physical and mental health, social engagement, and personal independence.
Philanthropedia surveyed 88 experts working in the field of aging (with an average of 24 years of work experience in the field) to identify those organizations that were making the biggest positive impact in the field. Philanthropedia’s experts (funders, researchers, nonprofit senior staff, veterinaries, etc.) identified 13 top nonprofits (out of 97 total reviewed nonprofits) making an impact at the national level.
Social Impact Research (Root Cause) has not yet analyzed healthy aging organizations. Donors can evaluate healthy aging organizations independently using Social Impact Research's Guide to Giving.
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