Community Collaboratives

The Texas Health and Human Services Age Well Live Well campaign encourages people and communities to take a proactive approach toward aging well. To grow local programs and capacity, and create aging well environments, AWLW provides interested communities with tools and resources to form local collaboratives or support existing community initiatives. The campaign offers the AWLW Community Collaboration Toolkit to help interested organizations come together and develop local partnerships. These collaboratives provide their residents with awareness, programs and resources that support aging well.

AWLW Collaboratives

Through the AWLW campaign, local organizations and community partners create collaboratives to share resources and information, create and promote wellness programs, and identify opportunities for residents to age and live well. These collaboratives are comprised of public, private and nonprofit organizations that want to realize quality well-being for their older residents.

Programs highlighted in AWLW are easily implemented in community settings and most are free or have minimal associated costs.

Existing Collaboratives

AWLW supports four collaboratives in major metropolitan areas across the state. Collaborative partners work together to share resources, promote wellness issues, identify needs, develop solutions and create inclusive events and programs that support their community. Collaborative activities include hosting a healthy aging symposium, offering fairs highlighting health, safety and engagement, creating an intergenerational gardening project and launching a unique online tool that tells the stories of older adult residents, the East Austin Story Map.

AWLW East Austin

Mission: The Age Well Live Well East Austin initiative connects residents and their support networks to agencies and services that help them to age well and in place.

The Age Well Live Well East Austin Collaborative is in the process of updating the East Austin Story Map. The East Austin Collaborative also hosts an annual Resource Fair.

AWLW Dallas

Vision Statement: To make Dallas a healthy age-friendly community.

Mission Statement: Promote a collaborative effort that inspires the Dallas community to take action toward a healthy, engaged lifestyle.

The Dallas Age Well Live Well Collaborative holds community events including an annual symposium every fall. Previous topics have included housing, healthy lifestyles, living barrier free, and supportive services.

AWLW Houston

Mission: Provide health and wellness interactions for the Aging populations in and around Harris County. Emphasis will be directed at evidence-based programs that support the AWLW model.

Our current model includes: Texercise, A Matter of Balance, Medication Management, and special initiatives that increase activity and awareness of AWLW. Some of the special AWLW initiatives have included disaster preparedness, nutrition awareness, and community garden projects.

AWLW San Antonio

Mission: Collaborate as a community to promote and provide opportunities for all to be active and healthy throughout their lives.

The San Antonio Collaborative is a networking collaborative that consists of representatives from the Area Agency on Aging, nonprofit and private organizations, all with the goal of resource sharing for San Antonio’s older adult population. Collaborative members share best practices, hear presentations about topics, issues or services that affect older adults, and support each other’s events.

To connect with an existing AWLW collaborative, call 800-889-8595 or email AWLW.

Are you interested in encouraging proactive thinking about aging in your community? Do you want to foster communication between organizations working with older adults in your area? If so, consider creating a collaborative.

How to Create a Collaborative

Here are some basic steps to starting a collaborative in your community. For more information, contact Aging Services Coordination or visit the AWLW resources page.

  • Define the needs of older residents and start drafting the mission and goals of a collaborative.
  • Identify potential community partners. Use your existing network, but also think outside of traditional partnerships. Find a common thread – services, audiences, needs and desired outcomes.
  • Connect with the partners you have identified. Highlight the common threads you share and feature the wins a collaborative can offer – resources/services for employees, awareness of their organization, formal recognition/award, etc. Make it easy to work together by developing processes/policies to ease collaboration and share responsibilities.
  • Maintain the collaborative by establishing a well-defined vision, mission, goals, roles and responsibilities; have regular communications and meetings with partners; make sure all partners' voices are heard and use the feedback you receive. Recognize the partners, especially those who go above and beyond.

Tools for Collaboratives

The AWLW campaign provides an array of resources to help local collaboratives develop their partnerships, create structure in their collaborative and plan events and programs. To learn more about these resources email AWLW.

Texas HHS has enlisted key statewide organizations to help local communities develop AWLW collaboratives.

Statewide partners include:

These statewide organizations are foundational partners for local collaboratives and provide free or low cost aging well programs and resources.

Below are examples of organizations involved in their communities and provide services and supports for older Texans. Be sure to consider including them when creating an AWLW collaborative:

  • Civic and social organizations
  • Networking groups
  • Volunteer programs
  • Hospital groups
  • Local and statewide media organizations
  • Aging and disability service providers
  • City parks and recreation departments
  • Colleges, universities, institutes of higher learning
  • Faith-based entities

Benefits of Developing Local AWLW Communities

AWLW collaboratives enhance and improve:

  • Physical health of residents, employees and the community.
  • Community involvement in volunteer activities.
  • Relationships with other organizations that have mutual interests and goals.
  • Quality of life for all involved.

Age Well Live Well and the AmeriCorps VISTA Program

AWLW VISTA members serve for one year at participating Area Agencies on Aging where they live and work beside community members to establish and strengthen AWLW collaboratives and support the campaign’s mission. Since April 2018, VISTA members have worked to bring community members together and built their Area Agency on Aging’s capacity to keep older adults healthy, connected and informed. Some examples of VISTA member accomplishments include:

  • Securing in-kind donations for the collaboratives’ Open Enrollment events.
  • Establishing a Texercise Select class in an Abilene community center.
  • Conducting outreach with local universities to boost interest in AAA volunteer opportunities.
  • Developing a program in which volunteers prepare and deliver pre-planted food resource pots for people who are homebound.
  • Assisting the AWLW collaborative in the Story Map project, which serves to honor the long-time residents of East Austin by capturing their histories and to centralize information about services for older adults in the area.
  • Expanding current volunteer opportunities at Area Agencies on Aging by creating volunteer applications, procedures and updating opportunity listings.
  • Researching and collaborating with community members for a cancer prevention grant to improve access to screenings for rural residents.

More Information

To learn more about AWLW resources, developing an aging collaborative, or the AWLW VISTA project, contact the Texas HHSC Office of Aging Services Coordination at:

Claire Irwin
Age Well Live Well Coordinator
512-438-3057
Claire.Irwin@hhsc.state.tx.us

HHS Aging Services Coordination Office
800-889-8595
AgeWellLiveWell@hhsc.state.tx.us

Aging Texas Well Advisory Committee website.

Visit

To learn more about health aging, visit the Texercise website.

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