The month of August features National Senior Citizen Day on Saturday, August 21, and Project Access is putting the spotlight on the notion of independent living for seniors.

National Senior Citizen Day was designated in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan as a stand-alone date for us to recognize the accomplishments of those over 65 and to generate awareness about the issues facing their quality of life. Because of the fast-approaching commemoration on August 20, it’s an excellent opportunity to reflect and explore how we help secure independent living scenarios for our seniors at Project Access, many of whom are at risk due to personal issues and lack of financial literacy.

It’s inevitable – all of us age. Hopefully, we have been wise to invest and save for the future. Preparing for the future is an effort even for economically stable people. However, if you’re economically challenged to the point that your quality of life is at risk, life becomes much more complicated and can quickly spiral.

Project Access utilizes the best practices of a place-based approach to delivering an Independent Living for Seniors program. Our place-based service model incorporates meaningful input and engagement from residents, meets seniors at their specific point of need, and initiates services and collaborations that nurture the aging adult population we serve.

All the seniors served by Project Access live in affordable housing – either at the low- or moderate-income level, as defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Many seniors served by Project Access struggle with English as a second language and have limited knowledge or understanding of the more comprehensive healthcare and social service systems upon which they find themselves increasingly dependent—creating barriers to health and social integration. Project Access’s unique location within affordable housing communities and culturally competent staff allow us to effectively serve diverse ethnic groups and develop trusting, authentic relationships with residents.

Project Access improves the quality of life for seniors living in affordable housing communities by reducing social isolation, increasing access to health resources, and building strong communities where they can thrive and ultimately age in place. Our six dedicated Project Access Senior Resource Centers utilize a place-based model to provide wraparound support to seniors through programming that meets their unique linguistic, nutrition, exercise, and education needs. These services enable seniors to stay healthy and live independently in their homes.

Our Independent Living for Seniors Program empowers senior residents to live independent, active, and integrated lives. We help our older adults maintain a sense of purpose and community by reducing barriers to accessing direct services and providing opportunities for recreation, social interaction, and personal growth resulting in economic stability increased health and wellness, and community-building. Over the coming year, we expect to serve 1,650 seniors in 96 affordable housing communities throughout 13 states.

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