Formerly IGSW News | VOLUME 23 | FALL 2016 |

From the Director

Fall Focus on Voting, Appreciating Senior Centers

By Bronwyn Keefe

In this Fall issue, we focus on the upcoming election with a look at the importance of voting participation among people with disabilities and the barriers that too often prevent them from voting. We also focus on Senior Centers, September being Senior Center Month. Senior Centers are at the heart of the Behavioral Health and Aging Project that Kathy Kuhn writes about below. All of us working on this current CADER effort to train Senior Center staff to recognize and respond to mental health issues in older adults have a renewed appreciation of the role these institutions play in the supports and services system.... Read more

Bronwyn Keefe, Ph.D., is acting director of CADER and research assistant professor, School of Social Work, Boston University. Scott Miyake Geron, Ph.D., director of CADER, is away on sabbatical.

Boston University photo of Bronwyn Keefe

Issues and Views

CADER customized training for staff, Year 2

Senior Centers Can Be Gateway to Mental Health Care

By Kathy Kuhn

It's been four years since the Institute of Medicine reported a crisis in mental health care for older Americans, calling for more trained workers and better access to care. Yet many older adults with mental health concerns still do not have the help they need. Access and workers trained in mental health and aging remain among the most pressing needs for local aging-services agencies.

One pioneering effort, the Behavioral Health and Aging Project, is addressing both of these challenges. Now at the end of its second year, the project shows how Senior Centers and Councils on Aging—core community-service organizations for older adults that are found in many localities—can be gateways to mental health services for older adults and a source of quality onsite mental health training for center staff.... Read more

Boston University photo of Kathy Kuhn

Be prepared

CADER Behavioral Health in Aging Certificate

With CADER's Behavioral Health in Aging Certificate Program, social workers and other health and social service providers develop the skills they need to understand, identify, and respond to older adults who have cognitive and behavioral health concerns in any practice setting. The program is flexible, with online and face-to-face courses. Topics include dementia, depression, suicide prevention, and substance use and abuse. For more information or to sign up (use code ENEWS2016 for a 10 percent discount).

3 million people with disabilities don't vote

Southeast ADA Center Shows How to Improve
Voter Access and Participation, Offers Free Resources

By Mary Johnson

This election year, which is also the 51st anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, advocacy groups across the country are working hard to break down barriers that result in disenfranchisement of many voters, including people with disabilities. A leader in this effort is the Southeast ADA Center, one of ten regional centers funded by the federal government to support the mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and disability access, including increased civic participation of Americans with disabilities. The Center has developed a treasure trove of (free!) voting resources for people with disabilities, those who provide supports and services to them, and families.

The experts speak. Why does 'the disability vote' matter? How can service providers who work with people with disabilities promote participation and improved access? The LearningEdge posed this question to Southeast ADA Center staff and their advocacy partners in a recent conference call. Read what they said.

Notable News and Resources

Latest Supreme Court decision

Homecare Workers at Last Guaranteed
Minimum Wage and Overtime Protections

Finally, thanks to a Supreme Court decision this summer, the nearly two million U.S. workers who provide in-home care to older adults, people with disabilities, and families will be assured of basic employment rights that most other workers have long enjoyed.

In June, the Court refused to hear challenges to implementation of the Obama Administration's Home Care Final Rule. The rule is meant to end more than forty years of specific exclusion of homecare workers from the minimum wage and overtime protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act. It's been a long road.... Read more

ACL leader's farewell message

Kathy Greenlee Acknowledges Controversy
And Lauds Success of Aging and Disability Union

As Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging and Administrator of the Administration for Community Living (ACL), prepared to leave her position in July after seven years on the job, including serving as the new agency's first head, she acknowledged that her signature achievement—the joining of federal efforts in support of people with disabilities to those supporting older adults—has been controversial. "Consolidating the two groups definitely raised some eyebrows," she said, in a message to colleagues in the aging and disability networks. "These seemed like very different groups of people. And they are...." Read why she thinks it works.

Find the right supports and services with this popular CADER course

A Guide to the Aging and Disability Networks

From paratransit and legal assistance to home-delivered meals and care management, the resources and services available to older adults and people with disabilities come from a complex array of organizations and programs. Here is a course that guides practitioners through this maze. Course participants will develop awareness and skills to help them match the needs of older individuals and people with disabilities with appropriate information and referrals, crucial in any number of settings. Sign up now and receive a 10 percent discount! (Enter code ENEWS2016)