Miami, FL – The Alliance for Aging announced that three programs recently received a 2022 Aging Achievement Award from USAging, one of the highest honors presented by USAging to its members. The programs were among 43 local aging programs to receive honors during USAging’s 47th Annual Conference and Tradeshow, July 10-13 in Austin, TX. The awards program is supported by iN2L, provider of the leading engagement and social connection platform for seniors, offering a foundation for activities that facilitate social interaction, cognitive and physical exercise, education, reminiscing, areas of interest and memory support engagement. 

The 2022 USAging Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards program recognizes Area Agencies on Aging and Title VI Native American Aging Programs that have developed and implemented cutting-edge concepts, innovative ideas and successful strategies to support older adults and their caregivers. Among the selection criteria was the ease with which other agencies could replicate the program in their communities. 

“Through the Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards, we salute our members’ outstanding accomplishments and hold up their programs in the hopes that doing so will seed replication and additional innovation by their peers around the country,” said Sandy Markwood, Chief Executive Officer of USAging. “We applaud our members for their tireless efforts to creatively develop vital services and supports for older adults, as well as their caregivers and people with disabilities in communities nationwide.”

The 2022 USAging Aging Achievement Awards honored traditional and new strategies in a range of categories, including Agency Operations, Community Planning and Livable Communities, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Health-LTSS Integration, Healthy Aging, Home and Community-Based Services, Housing, Information and Referral/Assistance, Kinship and Grandfamily Support, Nutrition, Social Engagement, Technology and Workforce Development. 

The three programs were:

Pet Project: Caring for and feeding pets became a financial burden for many low-income and homebound older adults at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alliance for Aging partnered with the Pet Project to deliver free pet food and supplies to 166 qualifying older adults in Miami-Dade County and 80 more elders in Monroe County every other month.

Budget: A first-year budget of $166,000 covered costs for a part-time staff member responsible for client assessment and enrollment. The Pet Project team stored and coordinated bi-monthly distribution of food and supplies.

Accomplishments: From September 2020 to July 2021, 83,500 pounds of dry food, 2,150 cases of wet food and 26,000 pounds of cat litter were distributed for 278 pets in Miami-Dade County. The project resumed in December 2021 and expanded to include 111 pets in Monroe County.

Live, Learn & Grow is a virtual seminar series for older adults in Miami-Dade County in response to increasing social isolation and loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hosted by a certified geriatric counselor and grief specialist, the weekly seminar is delivered separately in English and Spanish and explores topics concerning mental, emotional and physical health. The seminar provides older adults and their caregivers with tools to cope with the burdens and stresses of aging in place. 

Budget: The 2021 operating budget (approximately $24,000) included contracted and indirect services. The program was promoted through existing partners and social media channels and was delivered via Zoom at no additional expense. 

Accomplishments: Between 10 and 15 participants attended each session, with many attending regularly. Client feedback indicated they were satisfied with the workshop, found the facilitator engaging and accessible, and thought the materials were understandable. 

Hospital to Home: To assist five area hospitals in safely discharging vulnerable older adults and freeing up hospital beds at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alliance for Aging created Hospital to Home (H2H). Patients are provided home-based services delivered by lead agencies for 60 to 90 days after discharge to minimize risk of readmission. The program is only available to those who are not current clients, not in a Medicare Advantage plan and not in a Medicaid Managed Long-Term Care waiver program to avoid duplication of services, so H2H also serves as an entry point for consumers eligible but not receiving long-term care services. 

Budget: Annual project costs of $172,000 include a part-time program coordinator, office supplies, technology and services delivered by lead agencies (averaging $833 per client per month). 

Accomplishments: Approximately 145 clients were served during the first year. Through case management provided by lead agencies, 17 clients received assistance applying for long-term care services. Referrals resulted in successful plans of care and health improvements. The program was extended for an additional three years based on positive outcomes during the pilot phase. 

All winners are showcased in the USAging Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards Showcase

About USAging

USAging is the national association representing and supporting the network of Area Agencies on Aging and advocating for the Title VI Native American Aging Programs. Our members help older adults and people with disabilities throughout the United States live with optimal health, well-being, independence and dignity in their homes and communities. USAging is dedicated to supporting the success of our members through advancing public policy, sparking innovation, strengthening the capacity of our members, raising their visibility and working to drive excellence in the fields of aging and home and community-based services. For more information about USAging, AAAs or Title VI programs, visit