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Centers for Health and Aging

art class participant with self created artWithin the next three decades, nearly 25 percent of Americans will be age 65 or older — and Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are projected to have the oldest populations in the nation. Ten years ago, with these demographic projections in mind, Dartmouth-Hitchcock created the Aging Resource Center. Today, this is one of three centers encompassed in the Dartmouth Centers for Health and Aging. The organization is designed to address the unique needs of older residents in the communities we serve.

Our Aging Resource Center fulfills a critical need in our community by providing older adults and their caregivers with education, support and connections to resources. From free fitness classes to caregiver education and support groups, we address the full spectrum of aging-related physical, mental, social and spiritual concerns.

To further our mission of improving the health, safety and quality of life of older adults, our Northern New England Geriatric Education Center provides specialized, evidence-based training for healthcare professionals and caregivers. Additionally, our Center for Aging Research is instrumental in cutting-edge research that will benefit older adults.

At the Centers for Health and Aging, we provide the services and resources that older adults and their caregivers need. But, most importantly, we want older adults and their caregivers to know that help is available and they are not alone, no matter what happens.

Ellen Flaherty, PhD, APRN, AGSF
Director, Dartmouth Centers for Health and Aging

The underlying premise of the “With New Eyes” course was a new and positive experience to those of us facing a formidable deterioration of most aspects of our lives.

Participant in “My Story with New Eyes,” a photography and mindfulness program for adults with memory challenges and their caregivers

Chizuko of Aging Resource Center with class participants

The Centers for Health and Aging was created in 2008 and includes three distinct centers that focus on different aspects of geriatric care. Our centers include:

  • The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Aging Resource Center. Our Aging Resource Center focuses on improving the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health of older adults and their caregivers through education and support. We offer a wide range of free classes and programs on topics such as advanced care planning, physical fitness, healthy aging, technology, dementia education and caregiving, dementia engagement, spiritual care and the arts. We also offer support groups for caregivers and older adults who are living with dementia or other health conditions, as well as support groups for people who are coping with the death of a loved one.
  • The Northern New England Geriatric Education Center. Our Geriatric Education Center provides geriatric care training for healthcare professionals and caregivers. Using grant funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Geriatric Education Center has implemented a workforce enhancement program that provides training to primary care practice staff on assessing older patients for memory issues, fall risk, medication compliance, mental health problems, access to resources and other aging-related concerns
  • The Center for Research. With approximately $7 million in grant funding, our Center for Aging Research focuses on implementing research findings that will improve the quality of life and health of older adults. Current initiatives include a program funded by the National Institute on Aging to improve physical functioning and well-being in older adults, as well as a program to reduce emergency department usage and hospitalizations of older adults who live in nursing facilities.

It’s a wonderful place!

Aging Resource Center program facilitator

Centers for Health and Aging Program goals

  • Provide older adults and their caregivers with access to education, support, and resources for a variety of aging-related concerns.
  • Improve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of New England’s growing population of older adults.
  • Provide specialized training that enables healthcare professionals and caregivers to deliver high-quality, evidence-based geriatric care.
  • Conduct and implement research that will improve the quality of life of older adults while advancing the field of geriatric medicine.
The Upper Valley Memory Café

The Upper Valley Memory Café was developed in 2011 by the Aging Resource Center to provide people with memory disorders and their care partners with a positive and enjoyable social experience. The Memory Café, held monthly, offers a hearty breakfast, activities and conversation — as well as the opportunity to interact with café staff and student volunteers in an informal and stress-free atmosphere.

By the numbers

90 percent - Percentage of activities at the Centers for Health and Aging that are funded by grants

$7 million - Amount of annual grant funding received by the Center for Aging Research

700 - Number of classes offered at the Aging Resource Center in 2018

4300 - Approximate number of older adults from the Upper Valley area of New Hampshire and Vermont who attended programs in 2018

150 - Approximate number of appointments for the Tech Coaching program in 2018

I will continue to use [the Aging Resource Center] as a resource in my life because it caters to my needs as an older adult.

Aging Resource Center program participant

Tech Coaching

Tech coaching participants

The Aging Resource Center’s Tech Coaching program connects older adults with local high school students, who work one-on-one with older adults to address their technology-related questions and concerns. During scheduled appointments, high schoolers help older adults understand how to manage email, send pictures, set up folders and use a variety of devices, from smartphones to tablets to laptops.

The program not only enables older adults to stay current on the latest technology, but also promotes intergenerational interaction, compassion and lifelong learning. With more than 140 appointments scheduled in 2018, the program has been a huge success. Older adults love the energy of the students, and students have the opportunity to learn from the life experiences of their elders.