Eight area associations on aging (AAAs) in New York are moving ahead on a implementing a grant that will improve the aging services network's capacity to serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The AAAs for Broome, Chemung, Erie, Oswego, Rockland, Schenectady, Schoharie, and Schuyler counties were awarded a Disability Training Grant from the New York State Developmental Disabilities Council (DDPC). Chemung and Schuyler counties will collaborate on their grant award. The DDPC was created following the passage of the federal Developmental Disabilities Act and provides grant funding to pilot projects affecting all areas of life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This Disability Training grant has already made training available to the grantees on serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The training was created by the Center for Aging and Disability Education and Research (CADER) at Boston University. Grant sites are encourage to identity additional trainees beyond the initial group who would benefit from learning about Aging with Intellectual and Developmental Disability. This topic is incredibly important as people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are living longer and people who provide formal or informal attendant services or caregiving to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities themselves may be aging.
Indeed, grantees have identified various ways they would like to see their capacity expanded in their communities. Some would like to improve their internal policies to better screen to identify aging caregivers and aging people with disabilities. Some would like to see greater connection to disability services agencies and advocacy organizations to ensure that people with intellectual or developmental disabilities of all ages can get needed services and supports when their aging caregivers are no longer able to provide that support. Additionally, some grantees think that greater public awareness of the range of individuals who might seek assistance from the aging services network could be improved in the way that NY Connects does for anyone needing long term care.
Additionally, the Association on Aging in New York has brought on staff to assist sites while they implement the grant. Kathryn Carroll is the new Disability Training Coordinator who will help identify resources and make connections to other organizations and generally support the grantees' efforts and success. Kathryn is a disabled person who has a background in disability law and policy and advocating for access and inclusion of disabilities in numerous subject areas.
In August, representatives of the eight sites met with the Association on Aging in New York's Executive Director Becky Preve, Advocacy Specialist Colleen Scott and of the state Office for the Aging, Acting Director Greg Olsen of the state Office for the Aging, and Disability Training Coordinator Kathryn Carroll of the Association on Aging in New York to review the goals of the grant and plan next steps.
Congratulations to the grantees! Stay tuned for updates on the impactful projects being completed by our colleagues in the aging services network to advance disability inclusion. This grant should produce ideas and projects that other AAAs can use to increase your capacity in the area of disability awareness and inclusion.