Building a Healthier Langlade County has recently received a 2.5 year grant
FOR ANTIGO TIMES
Building a Healthier Langlade County has recently received a 2.5 year grant in collaboration with UW-Madison School of Nursing and supported by the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies. The “HeART” project stands for “healthy aging in rural towns.” Building a Healthier Langlade County was one of three coalitions in the state of Wisconsin to receive this funding. The other two coalitions are the City of Waupun and Iowa County. More information can be found here: https://care.nursing.wisc.edu/heart/
The first phase of this effort included surveying Langlade County residents about their knowledge and use of services aimed at older adults and caregivers. From that information, strategies were identified and a detailed work-plan was developed.
The second phase of the HeART project included hiring a Community Health Aging Coordinator (that’s me!) to help coordinate the activities in the work plan and successfully reach our strategic goals.
What kind of things might you see over the next couple of years from the HeART project?
First, it is important to note that the HeART project is a coalition: we have many, many partners, including ADRC, Antigo Food Pantry, Antigo Public Library, Aspirus, The Bay at Eastview & Gardenview, UW-Extension, Northcentral Technical College, City of Antigo, Langlade County, Red Robin Transit, and community members from Elcho, White Lake and Antigo…this is just a few of our partners! We intend to work together to more clearly provide support and services to our seniors and caregivers.
Second, the grant will allow us to purchase items important to our senior population. For example, benches located at businesses and public spaces for seniors to sit while waiting for a ride or pick-up. We are also at work designing “senior citizen” parking signs at both public and private parking lots. And yet another example is the red flag program: red flags are placed crosswalks to aid people crossing the street. Wave the flag overhead to alert traffic you are crossing – slowing or stopping traffic for pedestrians. This will be particularly helpful at intersections that cross Hwy 45.
We will also be creating an online “hub” of information that points to resources and services for seniors and caregivers. In addition, we will get information out through our local media sources, both radio and newspapers.
In the future, we will coordinate wellness activities, such as fitness classes and nutrition workshops, and design programs to aid caregivers. We will address transportation issues, especially for those in more rural areas that are alone and/or unable to drive. We will tackle issues of loneliness and isolation. We will find ways to address the hurdles that prevent seniors from being socially involved in community events.
That might seem like an awful lot to do. But we have many resources and services already in place in Langlade County. We are going to work hard to get people connected through coordinated, easy-to-find information, workshops, and social activities.
We will be looking for folks to attend our many workshops and seminars; participate in focus groups; and to learn about issues affecting our older adults and caregivers. Be on the lookout for upcoming announcements! If you’d like to help the HeART Project, please reach out to me, Terri Johnson, at [email protected] or 715-627-6374.
A little about Terri Johnson: A Christmas baby, Terri grew up in Green Bay and spent most of her adult life in Milwaukee where she married her high school sweetheart. She worked at the Milwaukee Public Museum as an event coordinator and later Director of Security & Visitor Services. Terri got her Ph.D. in political science and was an assistant professor at UW-Green Bay. In that role she was regular political analyst for radio, TV and print media. She evolved into academic administration and started the Center for Educational Technology & Innovation at Carroll University, and reinvigorated the Center for Teaching & Learning at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. She quasi-retired and returned to the north woods, starting her own business, UpNorth Fitness, where she promotes functional fitness for active older adults. She writes grants and helps with fundraising events for Raptor Education Group, Inc.