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Action Options to Improve Preparedness for Community-Dwelling Older Adult Populations

National Association of County and City Health Officials

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), funded three local health departments (LHDs) to implement and test Action Options recommended in CDC’s Identifying Vulnerable Older Adults and Legal Options for Increasing Their Protection During All-Hazards Emergencies (Guide). Developed in 2012 based on extensive research and input from a cross-sector workgroup, the Guide suggests Action Options that can be implemented at the community, regional, tribal, state, and national levels to better identify vulnerable adults and plan for their needs during an emergency. The goals of CDC and NACCHO were to test whether LHDs could realistically and feasibly implement the Guide’s strategies; enable three local communities to characterize their community-dwelling older adult populations; and determine whether gaps existed that could be filled by additional guidance.

NACCHO, in consultation with CDC, developed and disseminated a request for applications (RFA) to identify LHDs to act as pilot sites to implement Action Options. The RFA was open to select LHDs that had participated in developing the Guide or had previously demonstrated a commitment to addressing the preparedness needs of vulnerable, community-dwelling older adults. CDC and NACCHO reviewed applications and selected LHDs in California, Kentucky, and New York to coordinate community-dwelling older adult projects in their communities.

Following a kick-off meeting in February 2013, the three funded LHDs formed cross-sector leadership teams, identified which Action Options to test, characterized the community-dwelling older adult population and probable threats in their communities, and began implementing their selected Action Options.

The following case studies describe how each LHD implemented its project and offer lessons for other jurisdictions seeking to improve preparedness for their own community-dwelling older adult populations.