Max B. Rothman, JD, LL.M.

As the Area Agency on Aging for Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, the Alliance serves as the administrative funding hub for $42 million in state and federal money for home- and community-based services. The Alliance is responsible for ensuring program integrity and fiscal accountability among subcontractors providing direct services through a system of competitive awards, contract management, program monitoring and technical assistance.

The goal of our system is to allow older adults to “age in place.” Using state and federal funds, providers in the Alliance’s network ensure that elders in need – particularly those who are low-income, disabled, living alone – receive home- and community-based services, thereby reducing the risk that they will be placed in a nursing home. As a result, the area served by the Alliance has the lowest rate of Medicaid nursing home utilization in the state.

Our Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) serves as the single point of access for information on services available not only to older adults, but also to adults with disabilities, as well as to their caregivers. The ADRC handled over 100,000 calls in 2019. ADRC staff assists clients with eligibility determination for state and federally-funded long-term care programs.

The SHINE program (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) provides un-biased counseling concerning Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance. SHINE volunteers offer free counseling to older adults and young, disabled individuals about their health insurance options. Clients are assisted in understanding Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medigap insurance, Part D insurance, and to complete financial assistance program applications to help pay for Medicare. SHINE Volunteers also provide Medicare 101 presentations, attend health fairs, and provide counseling via telephone and in person at partner counseling sites.

Since 2009 the Alliance has received one Innovations Award and 16 Achievement Awards from n4a for its cutting-edge programs. The Alliance was recently awarded an Aging Achievement Award from n4a for Breaking Barriers for CDSME, which helps deliver the Chronic Disease Self-Management Education program to the local Haitian community. The Alliance for Aging has delivered CDSME programs in English and Spanish to underserved communities in Miami-Dade for many years and has now been able to offer the program to the Haitian community, where there is a large unmet need for these types of programs.

The Office of Planning and Population Health continues its efforts to achieve the goal of empowering older adults and their caregivers to live active, healthy lives and to improve their mental and physical health status. It also delivers programs to further the Alliance’s goal of ensuring the legal rights of older adults are protected and to prevent their abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Prevention program delivers presentations to promote awareness and education regarding elder abuse and ways to prevent them.

The Alliance is one of only four area agencies in Florida to provide the Veteran-Directed Home and Community-Based Services Program, which allows veterans with service-related disabilities to live more independently in their communities and avoid costly nursing home placement by recruiting and hiring their own caregivers.

As a result of Covid-19, and in order to keep the most vulnerable population safe from its effects, congregate meal sites and adult day care centers were closed in March, 2020. Providers delivered meals to recipients’ homes. A new statewide initiative led to creation of the Restaurant Connection which partners with area restaurants to supplement meal providers’ capacity for meal delivery to home-bound clients. A Pet Food Project delivered pet food to home-delivered meals clients. Because of the effects of isolation on older adults, projects supporting mental health were implemented, including mental health counseling, telephone reassurance, and online support groups.

The Alliance established a partnership with CCE Lead Agencies and other providers designed to help reduce loneliness and isolation among older adults. The program will enable elders to access remote healthcare, leverage preventive care, communicate with family and friends, and participate in live, interactive programming using a TV set, personal computer, smartphone, or tablet.

In partnership with Baptist Health Systems, a Care Transitions program is providing case management and specific direct services through our Lead Agencies for up to 60 days post-hospital discharge.

We continue to seek new, innovative ways to address the needs of elders in our community and to carry out our mission of promoting and advocating for the optimal quality of life for older adults and their families.