Back in August, we dialed up the Tufts Health Plan Foundation’s latest round of grants, and spotted a trend toward “holistic aging.” The foundation seemed to be moving away from disease-specific initiatives targeting diabetes, say, or glaucoma. It was shifting instead toward general wellness initiatives—the kinds of good-sense, prophylactic measures that can keep elders from getting illnesses or chronic diseases in the first place.
It was a smart move, and with its latest round of grants, it seems to be continuing down the same track.
Tufts gives grant monies through four different subcategories, all related to healthy aging: Health & Wellness, Purposeful Engagement, Empowerment, and Capacity Building.
Health & Wellness, as the name suggests, is all about improving access to health care and quality providers. Purposeful Engagement seeks to provide senior citizens with accessible opportunities to volunteer through Experience Corps. Empowerment focuses mainly on offering transportation alternatives for older adults. The Capacity Building program is invitation-only, designed to assist select grantees in taking their missions above and beyond.
With this round, Tufts Health Plan seems to be embracing a flood of new grantees. Tufts is usually the type to hold on to grantees it's worked with in the past—indeed, its six-year history has included multiyear support to quite a number of programs in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In this round of grants, which totals over $880,000, over a quarter of the recipients are first-timers. These include Tai Chi and Falls Prevention programs in Boston and Johnston, RI, and the Driving Assessment and Safety Program for elders in East Sandwich, MA.
A new program created by the National Council on Aging is also receiving support. It’s called the Aging Mastery program, and it’s designed to keep senior citizens healthy, financially secure, and contributing to society even as they age. It’s holistic, in other words. The perfect example of the direction THPF seems to be heading.
“We’re funding many new and exciting programs this cycle, along with programs that have consistently delivered positive outcomes in communities,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, executive director of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president, corporate citizenship for Tufts Health Plan. “We applaud the work these organizations are doing to build communities that work for everyone, but especially older adults.”