Center Executive Director Rev. Beth Long-Higgins and United Church Homes President and CEO Rev. Kenneth V. Daniel accepted the award during a ceremony at Columbus Hilton at Easton on Thursday, Aug. 30.
The new Aging Services Impact Award is given to an individual or LeadingAge Ohio member organization for communication efforts that promote a positive image of aging services and enhance the public perception of services offered by member organizations.
United Church Homes’ Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging is committed to combating systemic ageism by developing and using purposeful language and new standards of care that support aging. The Center serves older adults and their families, healthcare, social workers and direct care professionals, clergy and others.
The Center fosters conversations and education about abundant aging and creates real change for older adults. It is a thought leader on topics of concern and interest to older adults and their supporters, and it is unique in its engagement of congregations as a faith-based provider.
Beth contributed to Age Friendly Congregations, United Church of Christ curriculum that provides churches with a framework for ministry with older adults. She also presents to groups including local clergy and congregations about how to examine and improve how they talk about and interact with older adults and also how to support community members who are aging in place.
In 2015, the UCH Board of Directors envisioned a 21st-century continuum of residential settings that support abundant life for individuals at all income levels. This vision includes retirement that is filled with meaning, purpose and joy, where older adults are energized and look forward to the future with hope, security and knowledge to meet the inevitable challenges and opportunities of aging.
The Center hosts an annual Symposium in Columbus, Ohio, that provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and innovation in the fields of gerontology, healthcare, ministry and aging. This Symposium includes national keynote speakers such as media professional Joan Lunden, who serves as the spokesperson for A Place for Mom, and Dr. Laura Carstensen, professor of psychology and founding director of the Standard Center on Longevity. In October, Dr. Ira Byock, founder and chief medical officer at the Institute for Human Caring of Providence Health Services, California, presented Surprising Opportunities for Well-Being through the End of Life and What Mortality Has to Teach Us about Living. Since the Center launched the Symposium in 2016, over 550 individuals have attended the event.
The Center also hosts a weekly blog, where United Church Homes chaplains, a local clergy member and guest bloggers address issues related to aging.
For more information about United Church Homes’ Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging, visit abundantaging.org. For more information about United Church Homes, visit unitedchurchhomes.org.