Arts leaders and teaching artists who want to connect with the aging services field should focus primarily on the local level. The following organizations are good places to start when seeking participants, partners, and information:
Area agencies on aging
Resources: Aging initiatives and programs; information about aging services providers, programs, and key individuals. The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging maintains a list of members and describes key policies on its Web site. Most area agencies on aging have an information hotline or toll-free number for ease of access.
Resources: Educate arts leaders and teaching artists about dementia; manage and host programs and events that may benefit from the arts.
For information: Alzheimer’s Association. At the local chapter, contact the program director or executive director.
National organizations also offer specific expertise useful to arts and aging programs:
Education and training: The American Society on Aging, an association of practitioners, educators, administrators, policy makers, business people, researchers, and students, provides educational programming, publications, and information and training resources.
Private funding:Grantmakers in Aging (GIA) provides insights into what’s on the mind of private funders. GIA presents key issues at an annual conference and through issue briefs and newsletters.
Policy and advocacy: The National Council on Aging promotes understanding of national policy issues and how to make the case for increased public funding. Programs are targeted on improving the lives of older adults.
Program design and implementation:National Center for Creative Aging provides training and materials, an information clearinghouse, and a list of state-level member associations.
Many other national associations represent segments of the aging services field, including social workers, geriatric care managers, adult day services, ombudsman programs, and visiting nurse associations. For a list, visit the American Society on Aging.