Elder Program Remodel and Expansion Scheduled January through July

Elders join and rejoice in song and dance during this year’s holiday festivities.

In the 2018 SCF Needs Assessment, respondents were provided with lists of health needs and asked to rank health priorities. Within the general wellness category Elders specifically identified the priorities of supporting healthy lifestyles, building behavioral and emotional health, and fostering healthy relationships with families and communities as their top needs — SCF listened. To meet these needs, the Elder Program is remodeling its current location to support future service expansions and allow for more program participants.

Renovations to the Elder Program space include interior architectural restructuring; upgrades to plumbing, electrical, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems; new interior wall framing; and fresh paint. The program will have a new kitchen and dining area once the project is completed.

Construction for the Elder Program remodel is scheduled to occur from January through July 2019. In January, lunch services will be suspended for two weeks while the Elder Program services and activities are relocated to the Mt. Ahklun building.

Southcentral Foundation established the Elder Program in 1995 to provide a comprehensive approach in delivering services and addressing the needs of Alaska Native and American Indian Elders who live in the Anchorage area. Services are designed to enhance the quality of life and promote independent living by fostering an environment of quality, dignity, and pride.
The program provides a space where Elders can receive a variety of services including monthly home visits, chore services, light meal preparation, transportation, group activities, subsistence outings, health education, exercise programs, on-site dental, shopping activities, daily congregate meals, and more.

Recognizing a need to further expand the health care services offered onsite, SCF opened the Nurse Consult Clinic in April. Every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Elders can have their symptoms triaged, get referrals to other clinics, or check their temperature, blood pressure, and weight.

Arguably one of the biggest benefits of the program is fostering a place for Elders to meet with friends and make new ones. The program hosts monthly potlucks, where traditional Native foods and seasonal themes are complemented with bingo, live music, and dancing. Each December, the Elder Program hosts the annual Elder Christmas Party, where Elders gather to celebrate the holidays and enjoy prizes, live entertainment, and a catered meal.

In many Alaska Native cultures, Elders are culture bearers and advisors, and are honored and respected for their contributions to the health and wellness of their communities. To ensure that the services SCF provides are culturally respectful and aligned with traditional values, SCF created the Elder Advisory Council.

The council established a way for Elders to come together, gather feedback on services, and provide recommendations for activities supported by the Elder Program. The council is one of many ways SCF continues the tradition of recognizing Elders as a source of wisdom and guidance and incorporate their input into the Nuka System of Care. SCF listens to the voice of the customer using many different listening posts, which includes the Elder Advisory Council and the needs assessment. Utilizing multiple listening posts helps ensure the improvements made to the Nuka System of Care are culturally appropriate and reflective of the values and needs of customer-owners. The expansion of the Elder Program and resources to help support the growing population of Alaska Native and American Indian Elders is one of many recent examples of improvements made by SCF in partnership with 65,000 customer-owners.

For questions or concerns, contact Elder Program at (907) 729-6500.

by Kally Greene-Gudmundson

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