May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust


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Elders

The Trust envisions a society where older adults are visible and valued, and receive the assistance they need to lead a dignified and engaged life.

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Overview

The Trust aims to foster a society where older adults are visible, valued, and receive the support they need to lead a dignified and engaged life. Communities, families, and caregivers are essential components in a holistic approach to aging that enriches the quality of life, encourages self-sufficiency, and values self-determination.

The Trust's strategies for Elders grantmaking support programs that encourage community engagement, allow elders to age in place whenever possible, provide support for caregivers, and offer long-term care that promotes a good quality of life.

Focus Population

The focus population for this program area includes adults 60 years of age and older. Caregivers are also a key population to be supported through the Elders program area, including family members, volunteers, and paid professionals. The Trust approaches its work with an appreciation for older adults as significant assets to society, whose experience, contributions, and community participation are resources with the potential to benefit people of all ages.

The majority of the Trust’s grantmaking in the Elder's Program Area will be devoted to direct services for individuals, families, and communities, but a small number of grants may advance the work of organizations engaged in research and communication initiatives that raise awareness about the issues facing older adults, and encourage the implementation of policies and practices that effectively address these issues.

Strategies

  • Community Engagement

    Foster community engagement among adults age 60+.

    Grantmaking strategies include supporting programs that:

    • Ensure adults age 60+ have access to high quality lifelong learning programs
    • Offer paid and unpaid opportunities for older adults to contribute to the community
    • Foster intergenerational connections so that younger and older people can learn from and benefit one another
    • Promote the perception of older adults as valuable contributors to the community, rather than societal burdens

  • Aging in Place

    Assist older adults to age in place.

    Grantmaking strategies include awarding grants to programs that:

    • Meet basic needs such as food, housing, transportation, legal services, and care management
    • Help older adults remain physically and mentally active
    • Create community and increase social connections
    • Empower older adults and ensure they are visible and valued in society, and enjoy reciprocal relationships with peers, neighbors, and community members of all ages

  • Caregiver Support

    Support family and professional caregivers to provide quality care for elders.

    Grantmaking strategies include supporting programs that:

    • Assist family and professional caregivers through education and training
    • Provide accessible and affordable respite opportunities for family caregivers
    • Address the practical and emotional needs of elders, families, and caregivers at the end of life
    • Advocate for programs and policies that support all caregivers

  • Quality Long-term Care

    Improve the quality of life and care for elders in residential long-term care (LTC) settings.

    Grantmaking strategies include supporting programs that:

    • Engage residents, family members, and staff in creating a sense of community
    • Help LTC communities change culture away from a medical model and toward principles of person-centered care
    • Give professional caregivers opportunities to enhance skills and leadership, promoting job retention and advancement
    • Offer diverse social and cultural activities to meet the needs of residents
    • Connect LTC communities with broader local communities
    • Advocate for improvements in the long-term care system

Community Engagement

Foster community engagement among adults age 60+.

Grantmaking strategies include supporting programs that:

  • Ensure adults age 60+ have access to high quality lifelong learning programs
  • Offer paid and unpaid opportunities for older adults to contribute to the community
  • Foster intergenerational connections so that younger and older people can learn from and benefit one another
  • Promote the perception of older adults as valuable contributors to the community, rather than societal burdens

Aging in Place

Assist older adults to age in place.

Grantmaking strategies include awarding grants to programs that:

  • Meet basic needs such as food, housing, transportation, legal services, and care management
  • Help older adults remain physically and mentally active
  • Create community and increase social connections
  • Empower older adults and ensure they are visible and valued in society, and enjoy reciprocal relationships with peers, neighbors, and community members of all ages

Caregiver Support

Support family and professional caregivers to provide quality care for elders.

Grantmaking strategies include supporting programs that:

  • Assist family and professional caregivers through education and training
  • Provide accessible and affordable respite opportunities for family caregivers
  • Address the practical and emotional needs of elders, families, and caregivers at the end of life
  • Advocate for programs and policies that support all caregivers

Quality Long-term Care

Improve the quality of life and care for elders in residential long-term care (LTC) settings.

Grantmaking strategies include supporting programs that:

  • Engage residents, family members, and staff in creating a sense of community
  • Help LTC communities change culture away from a medical model and toward principles of person-centered care
  • Give professional caregivers opportunities to enhance skills and leadership, promoting job retention and advancement
  • Offer diverse social and cultural activities to meet the needs of residents
  • Connect LTC communities with broader local communities
  • Advocate for improvements in the long-term care system

Background

Older adults are a growing segment of our communities. There are an estimated 76 million baby boomers that make up 29% of the population today. Baby boomers are those who were born between 1946 and 1964.This generation has been known to redefine social norms set by previous generations and they continue to redefine what it means to age in our country. With advancements in medical technology the U.S., life expectancy for older adults has grown from 68 years in 1950 to more than 78 years in 2018, with more diversity in racial and cultural backgrounds. One in every four adults age 65 will live to be 90 years old, thereby creating the need for systems to support these individuals. The majority (90%) of older adults when surveyed indicate wanting to age in place at the home of their choosing. This will require a more robust continuum of services such as improved transportation systems, caregiver benefits and networks, accessible dwelling units, as well as access to medical treatment and support services in more rural settings. For those who choose or need more extensive support, long-term care communities need to ensure elders are able to age safely, maintain a good quality of life, and remain engaged with their communities.

Please Note

Due to the large number of applicants seeking grants to support older adults to maximize independence and safely age-in-place (meal programs and senior centers, in particular), the review process in the Aging-in-Place strategy is particularly competitive. In addition to the characteristics listed above, the most competitive applicants under the Aging-in-Place strategy will clearly demonstrate one or more of the following:

  • Innovation in program design/delivery
  • Location in a geographically rural or isolated area
  • Potential for scale

The Trust does not fund

  • Nonprofit social service providers who serve older adults as part of their general client population but have not specifically adapted or do not plan to adapt, their outreach or services to ensure they are senior-friendly and accessible to older adults and their caregivers
  • Organizations lacking a track record of achieving results toward at least one of the four strategies outlined above

Successful Applicant Organizations

  • Specifically address one or more of Trust's Elders strategies described above
  • Value collaboration and actively partner with peer organizations to address unmet needs
  • Incorporate best practices from the field, including use of evidence-based programs and curricula
  • Empower older adults and develop their capacity for leadership and self-advocacy
  • Involve older adults in program planning, service delivery, and organizational leadership
  • Emphasize individuals’ strengths and assets

Grantseekers Start Here

Competitive applicants must also meet the eligibility and alignment criteria described in the grantseekers section.