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NYS Office for the Aging, Developmental Disabilities Planning Council announce new online training

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Mon, Mar 22nd 2021 01:15 pm

Focused on needs of people with intellectual & developmental disabilities

Partnership between NYSOFA, NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, Boston University School of Social Work supports aging services network to better assist older New Yorkers, individuals with intellectual & developmental disabilities

Enhances first-in-nation online training academy for aging services professionals in NYS

The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA), in partnership with the New York State Development Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC), and Boston University School of Social Work’s Center for Aging and Disability Education and Research (CADER), have announced a new online course designed to help the aging network workforce better understand what intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) are, and how they impact a person’s life from birth to older age. The disability awareness training has been added to NYSOFA’s first-in-the-nation online training academy, offered by BU CADER, for aging services professionals in New York as part of a $300,000 grant from DDPC.

"We are excited to be partnering with DDPC, BU CADER and AANYS on this new training, which will further expand the skills of New York state’s aging services professionals in meeting the unique needs of older adults and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” NYSOFA Acting Director Greg Olsen said. “Many individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, as with older adults, desire to live as independently as possible for as long as possible. Through our online training academy, we are building on our successful partnership with BU CADER to further assist aging services providers in developing a highly qualified, adaptable and sustainable workforce that supports the critical needs of older New Yorkers and those with IDDs, which in this COVID-19 environment, is more important than ever.”

The online training academy currently offers more than 20 certifications and trainings from BU CADER for aging services staff statewide, enabling them to enhance their professional qualifications and deepen their expertise to further support the needs of older New Yorkers.

The disability awareness training course will expand the training academy’s offerings by focusing on understanding the needs and desire of individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, including how IDDs are manifested (physical, emotional, mental and social), and how they may or not impair a person’s ability to live independently while enjoying all of society’s benefits. The aging services network can provide guidance, support and advocacy for people with IDDs and those who care for them. The course will help aging professionals gain knowledge, develop skills, and promote values of inclusivity so that those with IDDs and their caregivers are not viewed as a separate or different population from the older people they typically serve. This course will also offer continuing education credit for social workers in New York.

A press release stated, “Over the past decade, New York state has experienced an unprecedented increase in its older population. There are currently more than 4.6 million adults aged 60 and over in the state; that number is expected to increase dramatically over the next 20 years. Studies have indicated that the life expectancy for adults with IDD has also grown due to medical advances and improved living conditions in recent decades. The number of adults in the U.S. with IDD age 60 years and older is projected to grow to 1.2 million by 2030 (per Heller T. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities growing old: an overview. Impact. 2010; 23{1}).

“Rapid changes in health care and long-term care have also propelled the need to address the challenges faced by a growing number of older adults needing assistance to live independently. As New York state works on payment reforms under value-based payments; continues to rebalance long-term care; and builds age-friendly communities focused on addressing social determinants of health, ensuring that the network of aging services professionals have access to standardized, skills-based training is critically important in addressing older adults’ diverse needs while also demonstrating to payers and the general public that the aging services workforce is highly trained, skilled and certified.”

In 2016, New York became the first state in the nation to offer validated, skills-based, online certificate programs and training for care managers and other practitioners serving older adults and people with disabilities. Developed in partnership with the Association on Aging in New York and BU CADER, the standards for the care management certification program are said to be among the highest in the nation. Now in its sixth year, the program is designed to address the knowledge, skills and values essential for effective care management practice and to provide a statewide, standardized training program. To date, upward of 900 care managers have completed this mandatory program to enhance the qualifications for professional care managers who serve older adults across New York.

Vicky Hiffa, acting executive director of the NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, said, “Older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are now living longer, but very often have difficulty accessing necessary supports and services to be able to continue to live as independently as possible in the community. NYS DDPC is delighted to partner with NYSOFA and BU CADER on this important initiative to help aging service professionals better support older New Yorkers with IDD.”

Bronwyn Keefe, director and research assistant professor at the Center for Aging and Disability Education and Research at Boston University’s School of Social Work, said, “New York state continues to be a trailblazer in the field of aging, setting high standards and providing necessary support to build a highly competent workforce to better serve older New Yorkers. We look forward to delivering this important training and evaluating the outcomes on organizational and individual capacity to provide better services and programs to older adults across New York.”

Theodore A. Kastner, MS, M.D., commissioner of the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), said, “As medical and technological advances lead us to live longer lives, it is now more important than ever to ensure that the health care workforce is educated and prepared for the increasing senior population, and that includes people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The disability awareness training that has been added to this first-in-the-nation program will go a long way in helping to improve the lives of the seniors with developmental disabilities.”

Rebecca Preve, executive director of the Association on Aging in New York State (AgingNY), said, “The network of aging service providers across NYS are excited to have access to additional educational opportunities focusing on the needs of older New Yorkers and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We applaud the partnership between NYSOFA, BU CADER and NYSDDPC, and look forward to the continued enhancement of our workforce.”

The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) works to help the state’s 4.6 million older adults be as independent as possible for as long as possible through advocacy, development and delivery of person-centered, consumer-oriented, and cost-effective policies, programs and services that support and empower older adults and their families, in partnership with the network of public and private organizations that serve them. Stay connected: Download the NYSOFA mobile app for iOS or Android; visit the NYSOFA Facebook page; follow @NYSAGING on Twitter and NYSAging on Instagram; or visit aging.ny.gov.

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