Ethos Program Selected for Root Cause’s 2012-2013 Social Innovation Forum

AgeWell West Roxbury Initiative Recognized as a Social Innovator in “Healthy Aging: Vibrant Lifestyles for Adults Ages 60+”

WATERTOWN, MA – December 7, 2012 – The Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced today that Root Cause’s Social Innovation Forum selected AgeWell West Roxbury, an Ethos initiative that helps seniors access needed resources and social connections, as the Social Innovator for the Healthy Aging: Vibrant Lifestyles for Adults Ages 60+ track. This is the fifth year that the Tufts Health Plan Foundation has sponsored this track, which includes a $10,000 cash prize as well as capacity-building services from Root Cause and its partners valued at more than $100,000.

AgeWell West Roxbury, a flagship of Ethos’ healthy aging programs throughout Southwest Boston, was selected for its in-depth work with older adults and their family caregivers. AgeWell takes a multi-faceted approach to healthy aging by helping older adults connect with each other, the community and to available resources. The program offers seniors free or low-cost educational workshops, exercise and balance programs, and social, recreational and intergenerational programs.

“This is an amazing opportunity to receive high-level executive coaching and business process examination from Root Cause and its partners,” said Ray Santos, director of community relations for AgeWell West Roxbury. “West Roxbury is the neighborhood in Boston with the largest population of older adults, most of whom still own their own homes. With traditional support networks not as strong as they used to be, there’s a void for seniors who want to continue living at home. Our goal is to have a community that is organized, mobilized and galvanized so that seniors have the programs and services they need to lead healthy and vibrant lives.”

The community aspect of AgeWell’s mission is central to its recognition as a Social Innovator. In addition to a diverse array of evidence-based health promotion and disease management programs, AgeWell has introduced new programs to reduce barriers to healthy aging for homebound elders. For example, at-home computer training teaches seniors new ways of socializing as well as how to use online health resources. Fall prevention improves one’s confidence and ability to get out of the house. At the same time, AgeWell’s partnership with ITNGreaterBoston expands transportation options for older adults to decrease isolation and improve access to community programs.

“AgeWell West Roxbury is a natural choice for the Social Innovator award in healthy aging,” said David Abelman, president of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation. “By tapping into the power of the community, AgeWell helps even the most vulnerable older adults not only stay in their homes but also remain socially and civically engaged.”

“Root Cause is pleased to have selected AgeWell West Roxbury, a program of Ethos, for our 2013 portfolio,” said Susan Musinsky, director of Root Cause's Social Innovation Forum. “We are looking forward to supporting Ray Santos and his team in refining and expanding AgeWell's innovative model and are excited to be highlighting the importance of healthy aging in the Greater Boston community.”

AgeWell is an initiative of Ethos, a non-profit organization that has served Boston’s elderly and disabled community since 1973. As the chosen Social Innovator for the Healthy Aging track, AgeWell will present its work to leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors at Root Cause’s Social Innovator Showcase on Thursday, May 9, 2013.

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