On Oct. 20, Council on Aging (COA) and the University of Cincinnati’s (UC) Live Well Collaborative will receive the 2022 Outstanding Area Agency on Agency (AAA) Partnership of the Year Award. The award highlights a partnership with significant contributions, exemplary cooperation, and innovative approaches for improving services to older adults.
The University of Cincinnati and Procter and Gamble founded the Live Well Collaborative in 2007 as a nonprofit organization. Live Well is a unique academic-industry innovation center that leverages the vitality and unbiased innovation capability of multi-disciplinary teams of UC faculty and students. During a 16-week semester, Live Well uses a validated design thinking process to translate user-centered research into products and services that meet the needs of the end user.
COA and Live Well began their partnership in 2019 to identify solutions to alleviate the critical national shortage of home health aides impacting COA’s southwestern Ohio service area. Research in the existing space turned up no viable solutions, so this initial project resulted in the development and launch of AddnAide, a unique app that matches aides with older adults who need care.
The partnership continued with a project to identify an efficient and effective way to train caregivers of older adults – many of whom are forced into the role because of the home health aide shortage or pandemic-related service disruptions. The result of the project was EVRTalk, a virtual reality (VR) experience designed to make caregivers more comfortable in that role while better understanding their care recipient’s perspective.
Both programs use emerging technologies and are one-of-a-kind, with the potential to be scaled and adopted for use by Ohio’s other Area Agencies on Aging, as well as other types of organizations at the state or national levels.
COA and Live Well currently are embarking on a new project that will focus on making it easier for older adults and their loved ones to navigate the often disjointed and confusing array of programs and services available to them in southwestern Ohio.