In San Mateo County, adults over 70 are the fastest growing segment of the population. Older adults are vulnerable to loneliness and isolation, so Lee Michelson, CEO of San Mateo’s Sequoia Healthcare District, recognized a need.
“Aging can be a period of decline, but it can also be a period of greater engagement with the community and more opportunity to enjoy life,” Michelson says. “A lot depends on whether older adults know what community resources and social services are available to them.”
Michelson knew his community had a lot to offer older adults. The challenge was providing older adults in his community with an intuitive tool for finding resources that fit their needs. Purple Binder offered a solution.
“I saw that it was a company that creates easy to use but very informative websites focusing on community services,” Michelson says.
The Sequoia healthcare district partnered with Purple Binder and Peninsula Family Service to develop the 70Strong directory, a user-friendly website providing a comprehensive overview of the area’s services and community resources for older adults.
The site focuses on overall wellness and “aging in place.” In other words, with the right community support, older adults should be able to remain at home for as long as possible, rather than moving to assisted living facilities or nursing homes.
The 70Strong homepage.
In the 70Strong Directory, users can find basic social services like Cal-Fresh and Medicare Counseling as well as resources that keep them engaged with their community to prevent isolation–everything from friendly telephoning services to senior softball clubs.
As part of the 70Strong program, staff from Peninsula Family Service also work directly with older adults in the community, providing a call-in option, in-person office hours, and home visits.
Theodora Kyle-Singer, who came on board as 70Strong’s first navigator, contributed her knowledge of local resources to the site’s development process.
“Purple Binder has been receptive and resourceful in vetting the resources that we suggest,” she says.” It helps that there has been an extra eye and ear to check in with the programs to make sure we’re providing accurate information.”
Kyle-Singer points to the convenience of being able to pull up the 70Strong Directory on a laptop or tablet during home visits, rather than having to haul brochures and papers catering to an individual client’s case.
“There’s a lot of information out there that I just can’t carry in my bag when doing visits and being out there in the community,” she says. “It saves on paper and helps narrow down the information that we want to provide to people and not overwhelm them,” she says.
Community clinics listings in the 70Strong Directory.
Furthermore, the site is useful for both older adults and caregivers:
“It’s free; it’s easy to use. It’s simple in its form,” Kyle-Singer says. “Anyone can access the site. It could be a son or daughter who lives in New York and is managing a VA application coast to coast. It could be a primary caregiver or even a neighbor or friend who thinks an older adult could use more stimulation, social interaction, or just daily purpose. It really could be anyone who’s involved in that older adult’s life.”
Interested in 70Strong? Browse the directory here.