Moses Taylor Foundation Issues RFP for Reducing Older Adult Isolation Planning Grant

Moses Taylor Hospital opened in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on October 1, 1892, to treat injured miners and railroaders who were unable to access healthcare at other hospitals in the community. A few years later, the hospital also began treating workers’ families and eventually expanded to serve the broader community as well. Established in 2012 from the sale of Moses Taylor Health Care System to Community Health Systems of Franklin, Tennessee, the Moses Taylor Foundation champions the evolving health needs of northeastern Pennsylvania, prioritizing the most vulnerable.

Social isolation among older adults is a widespread issue of concern, and several factors indicate it may  be of particular concern in Lackawanna County. It is well known that the region has a relatively high proportion of older adults. According to 2017 United States Census data, 19.6 percent of Lackawanna County residents are 65 years of age or older, compared to 17.8 percent of Pennsylvanians and 15.6 percent of the United States population. Additionally, Lackawanna County has a higher incidence of nearly all AARP risk factors for older adult isolation, compared to nationwide averages. These risk factors include living alone, having an income below the poverty threshold, being single, and being disabled.

For older adults identified as being isolated or at-risk, Lackawanna County providers indicate that there already are many specialized programs that older adults can take advantage of to reduce their isolation, including friendly visiting services, specialized exercise programs, volunteer placements, and more. However, there are significant gaps in terms of connecting isolated individuals with existing programs and assisting older adults in overcoming barriers to participation.

To address this lack of connection between at-risk seniors and existing services, the Moses Taylor Foundation envisions a system for addressing older adult isolation that will have at its core a team of trained navigators. These navigators would be responsible for linking older adults identified through screening as isolated with existing community services to reduce their isolation. Since a highly complex set of factors and barriers can play a role in any one person’s isolation, it is projected that a more individually tailored approach than a typical information and referral system is necessary. Navigators can provide high-touch assistance in terms of connecting participants to programming that fits their specific needs and interests, helping overcome any barriers to participation, and providing encouragement and support.

This grant opportunity will provide a planning grant of between of $50,000 and $75,000 to a collaborative working to create a community-based system that addresses older adult (65+) isolation in Lackawanna County. The key outcome of the grant will be the production of a thorough plan for implementation of a coordinated system that includes development of a social isolation screening tool in partnership with the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development n Logistics; compilation and review of a catalog of current services available to Lackawanna County residents that can reduce older adult isolation; meaningful engagement of older adults who will be key to informing design of a system tailored to the unique needs of this population; the creation of evaluation measures and tools in partnership with the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development; long-term sustainability options; and an implementation timeline and budget.

Applications will only be considered from a collaborative containing one lead organization and at least one other partner organization. All members of the collaborative must have 501(c)(3) status, and each collaborative should include at least one nonprofit healthcare provider and one community-based organization with experience serving older adults. Additional collaborative partners may be included if they strengthen the capacity of the collaborative to achieve the desired outcomes. All collaborative members should have a strong presence in Lackawanna County.

Planning grant applications are due October 1 by 5:00 p.m. Organizations intending to apply should email Christine Marcos (cmarcos@mosestaylorfoundation.org) with notice of their intent to apply and the name of their collaborative partner(s) prior to the application deadline. Applicants are also encouraged to contact Christine with any questions or for assistance being matched with other interested organizations to form a collaborative.

See the Moses Taylor Foundation website for the complete program description, eligibility criteria, information about wrap-around supports, and application instructions.

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Deadline: July 22, 2019