Grace Egan, Executive Director of the NJ Foundation for Aging, spoke with APN about NJFA's work:
What does the organization do?
The Mission of the NJ Foundation for Aging (NJFA) is to promote services that enable older adults to live in the community with independence and dignity. NJFA’s four areas of focus are: Policy Research and Briefings to educate policymakers about age related issues; Public Awareness to connect older adults to community services; Professional Development to improve and promote innovative services for older adults; and when possible Philanthropic Support to expand services that enable older adults to live in the community.
Who does the organization help?
NJFA’s activities are intended to reach boomers seniors, caregivers and professionals. Through NJFA’s public awareness activities, including Renaissance magazine, the Aging Insights public access TV programs and social media, NJFA reaches approximately 400,000 people each year. These services are designed to connect caregivers and seniors to community services. NJFA’s policy research and briefings are targeted to legislators in an attempt to create policies that would increase access to food and nutrition programs, community transportation, and affordable housing options. NJFA also offers professional development forums for people who work with older adults, which focus on best practices and policy.
What does poverty look like in the agency’s work?
Across New Jersey, 43% of seniors living alone or in elder couple households live in or on the edge of poverty. This equals more than 255,000 seniors - or 25% of the all NJ residents over age 65. These statistics highlight the need to connect seniors to services. They are often underrepresented in public benefit programs for numerous reasons including lack of knowledge of where and how to apply, lack of transportation, general hesitancy to admit the need, or their belief that others need it more than they do.
Why is NJ Foundation for Aging a part of APN?
APN offers NJFA a platform for collaboration, and enables NJFA to provide other APN partners an understanding of senior issues, including barriers to receiving aid. NJFA’s involvement in APN ensures that the issues related to older adults are part of statewide dialogue on the scope of poverty in our state and possible solutions.