Resource Library

COVID-19 Update: The John T. Gorman Foundation is curating a list of resources, emerging best practices, and innovative ideas from across the country to help local organizations serve vulnerable Mainers during the coronavirus outbreak. To access those resources, visit www.jtgfoundation.org/resources/covid-19 or enter Covid-19 in the keyword search. Those results can be further focused by using the “Filter by” menu above to filter by population type (Young Children, Older Youth, Families, and Seniors) or by clicking the following links: childcare, education, food security, housing, rural areas, and workforce.

The John T. Gorman Foundation strives to be data-driven and results based and seeks to promote information and ideas that advance greater understanding of issues related to our mission and priorities. In our effort to promote these values, we offer these research and best practice resources collected from reputable sources across the country. The library also includes briefs and reports the Foundation has commissioned or supported, a listing of which can be found here.

 

Tribal nations focus on protecting elders to preserve culture after immeasurable losses to COVID-19

January 12, 2021 – Seniors

With COVID-19 killing Native people at nearly twice the rate of white people, the loss of tribal elders has spurred a cultural crisis for many tribes. With many tribal cultures reliant on oral tradition and few remaining speakers of native languages, tribal nations are worried about the cultural annihilation that comes with losing elders to COVID-19. To mitigate this threat, tribal leaders and nonprofits are working to reach and protect those most in need. Strategies have included delivering groceries and hygiene supplies to elders, training young people to monitor their grandparents’ vital signs with tribe-distributed thermometers and oxygen meters, and prioritizing tribal elders at the front of vaccination queues. However, vaccination efforts among this group are complicated by the fact that many tribal elders live in very rural communities without transportation. Importantly, these elders also experience deep mistrust of the government and medical institutions, seeded by long histories of forced assimilation, medical experimentation, and other brutal acts of racism. #covid-19 #racialequity #seniors #rural

Research on seniors in rural areas finds isolation and program barriers contribute to food insecurity

November 16, 2020 – Seniors

New research from Indiana University finds that isolation and program barriers contribute to food insecurity among older adults in rural areas. Data were collected via public convenings and a survey of 5,000 households in lower income census tracts in four rural counties of Indiana. Results showed that seniors living alone felt less motivated to prepare balanced meals and found less enjoyment in eating. Seniors who lived and ate with family members or ate in congregate settings reported higher enjoyment of meals, a diffused (and therefore decreased) burden of food acquisition, and increased motivation to eat better. These results are especially salient, given additional findings that the share of seniors feeling isolated has risen steeply, from 7 percent pre-pandemic to 61 percent at present. Findings also echo many previous studies in noting that SNAP and other nutrition programs that require paperwork or travel present barriers to participation. Researchers suggest that a ride-share network could be a cost-effective way to enhance seniors’ access to food sources and programs, although safe implementation in times of social distancing is complicated. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #rural

Different definitions of “aging in place” have distinct policy implications

November 4, 2020 – Seniors

A new review of academic literature explores the nuance of “aging in place” and its many conceptualizations in research and policy. Seven different definitions of “aging in place” are identified and each has distinct policy implications. For example, if aging in place refers to “never moving”, then policies might focus on home modifications and accessibility adaptations to their current homes, as opposed to the construction of new housing types for seniors. If “aging in place” refers to “having choices” and emphasizes individual autonomy, then policies might do better to focus on promoting a range of housing options and care environments.

“Green House” nursing homes far less impacted by COVID-19 than traditional facilities

November 3, 2020 – Seniors

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities have been the sites of notable COVID-19 outbreaks. However, “Green House” nursing homes—a nontraditional and less-institutionalized long-term care model—have reported far fewer COVID-19 cases and outbreaks. Green House facility residents are one-fifth as likely to contract COVID-19 as those living in standard nursinghomes. For example, a Green House residential facility in Northern Virginia called Goodwin House has not had a single case of the virus. Another facility in Florida, the Woodlands at John Knox Village, has only had one reported case. In addition to Green House facilities being structured more like homes than hospitals, employees also receive higher pay and more time for interacting with residents. Reported employee turnover is much lower at Green House facilities (just 8 percent) than the industry-wide 55 percent. However, these nontraditional facilities tend to be located in wealthier areas and few are Medicaid-reliant, meaning that these options are out of reach for many low-income seniors and seniors of color. #covid-19 #racialequity

Declines in nursing assistants across New Hampshire exacerbate nursing home staff shortages

October 26, 2020 – Seniors

The Concord Monitor reports on new data from the New Hampshire Board of Nursing that shows 2,381 licensed nursing assistants (LNAs) let their licenses lapse in New Hampshire between June 2019 and May 2020. During this same period the state only issued 1,672 new licenses, meaning there was a net loss of 709 LNAs. Staff shortages have been a challenge for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in New Hampshire historically and this recent loss exacerbates the problem. As LNAs are usually only paid around $15.50 per hour, the New Hampshire Long Term Care Stabilization program that provided weekly stipends to frontline health care workers were important incentives to keep LNAs as COVID-19 hit facilities. The program expired in July, but the governor announced new earmarks in mid-November, available through the end of the year, to incentivize these workers to continue their pandemic-era efforts. #covid-19

CDC finds dementia-related deaths up 20% during summer 2020

October 14, 2020 – Seniors

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that dementia-related deaths were about 20 percent higher this past summer as compared to previous summers before the pandemic. Although researchers are still working to pinpoint the exact causes, four contributing factors that have been identified are increased social isolation, caregiver burnout, limited access to medical care, and needing to stay at home. Experts emphasize the importance of phone call check-ins for people with dementia. #covid-19 #mentalhealth

New ‘dark store’ retail model could support food access and businesses

September 11, 2020 – Families, Seniors

Whole Foods recently opened its first purposely online-only store in Brooklyn. This ‘dark store’ will not be open for shoppers, but instead will operate as a hub for packing online orders for delivery or pickup. Other retailers are converting existing stores into dark stores to keep up with increasing demand for online shopping and as a lifeline for stores that have been struggling. Although demand for online shopping options has been growing, the pandemic has accelerated this trend. Expanded online shopping and delivery gives consumers not only convenience but critical food access, especially for seniors, people with disabilities, and anyone who cannot shop in person during the pandemic. #covid-19 #foodsecurity

New health research finds formal and informal home care for seniors with disabilities has increased

August 20, 2020 – Seniors

A recent academic article published in Health Affairs examined the types of home care that community-dwelling seniors with disabilities received over a multi-year period (2004-2016). Using data from a longitudinal nationally representative survey of adults ages 65 or older, authors estimated rates of informal, formal, and combinations of in-home care use. The vast majority of seniors with disabilities reported receiving some home care, and this share increased from 2004 to 2016. In 2004, only 16.9 percent of seniors with disabilities reported receiving no home care, down to 12.9 percent in 2016. A larger share of seniors with disabilities reported receiving only informal home care (48.3 percent in 2004 and 50.8 percent in 2016) compared to only formal home care (7.9 percent in 2004 and 9.2 percent in 2016).

The availability of home-based care for Medicare beneficiaries should be expanded

August 20, 2020 – Seniors

Research published in Health Affairs explores the receipt of home-based medical care among community-dwelling, fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries ages 65 and older. The authors analyzed survey data from the 2011-2017 National Health and Aging Trends Study, finding that only 11 percent of homebound fee for-service Medicare beneficiaries received home-based medical care. Homebased medical care receipt was more common among those living in metropolitan areas or in assisted living facilities. Given the health and cost benefits of aging in place, along with current unmet needs, authors argue that the availability of home-based care for Medicare beneficiaries should be expanded.

Federal agencies point state and community workers toward resources for supporting rural community-dwelling seniors and people with disabilities

August 19, 2020 – Seniors, Families

A new informational bulletin from the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture shares details on the kinds of federal resources and programs aimed at improving health and housing outcomes in rural places. With the goal of supporting state agencies’ uptake of these resources, the bulletin focuses explicitly on identifying federal funding streams and programs that support home safety and accessibility for rural older adults and people with disabilities. #rural

During COVID-19 food insecurity among older adults increases by almost 60 percent

July 31, 2020 – Seniors

The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) reports on an analysis from Northwestern University that compares food insecurity rates among older adults during the pandemic to rates in 2018. In 2018, 8.5 percent of older adults experienced food insecurity. Analysis of data from April 23 to June 16 shows the food insecurity rate among older adults was 13.5 percent, a 58.8 percent increase from the 2018 rate. Pre-existing racial and ethnic disparities in food insecurity rates were also exacerbated during the pandemic. The food insecurity rate for Black older adults during the pandemic was 23.0 percent and the rate was 24.3 percent for Latinx older adults of any race. The food insecurity rate for white older adults during the pandemic was less than half that, at 10.6 percent. Authors recommend boosting SNAP maximum and minimum benefits to leverage this existing program effective in supporting food security and stimulating the economy. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #racialequity

Addressing social isolation in seniors through transportation

July 20, 2020 – Seniors

A new paper commissioned by the National Center for Mobility Management explores the role of public transportation for reducing social isolation and loneliness among older adults. The paper summarizes existing literature and notes a lack of transportation is associated with loneliness, and that rural residents are more likely than urban residents to continue driving when older, likely reflecting the dearth of available alternatives. Public transportation can be a useful alternative, but its limited availability, inflexibility in routes and schedules, and challenges for those with mobility issues mean it is not uniformly utilized. The report also shows that demographic and geographic factors stratify use of public transportation: non-Hispanic white older adults are more likely to drive than are older adults of color, and higher-income older adults are more likely to drive than their lower-income counterparts. The report concludes by recommending more research specific to transportation and social needs and identifies the importance of community input and collaborations between public health and transportation sectors at the community level. #rural #mentalhealth