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Creating a Sustainable Network for the Rural Aging Movement

Older people everywhere want to maintain their independence and age in place, but it can be especially difficult in rural areas.

GIA leads Creating a Sustainable Network for the Rural Aging Movement, a three-year program to improve the experience of rural aging by connecting and supporting key players, sharing knowledge, and expanding the resources available to rural older adults. Meet our national steering committee here.

Original Rural Aging Resources from GIA

GIA is creating original resources to introduce funders and others to rural aging. 

  • Mobility & Aging in Rural America: The Role for Innovation: An Introduction for Funders is a general introduction tailored for funders but useful for anyone. This paper offers insights about what’s already working and what is possible from the perspective of providers and thought leaders. It does not require a background in technology or aging.

  • Heartache, Pain, and Hope: Rural Communities, Older People, and the Opioid Crisis: An Introduction for Funders. This document brings a fresh perspective to the national opioid epidemic, focusing overdue attention on the damage to rural communities, particularly the lives of older people, and describing proven programs, innovative partnerships, policy recommendations, and scientific and medical responses for governments, communities, nonprofits, and philanthropies. 
  • Raising Awareness and Seeking Solutions to the Opioid Epidemic’s Impact on Rural Older Adults is a research survey prepared for GIA by William F. Benson and Nancy Aldrich of Health Benefits ABC and is a companion piece to Heartache, Pain and Hope
  • New Frontiers for Funding: An Introduction to Grantmaking in Rural AgingThis document provides a broad survey of the challenges rural communities face, particularly as their populations get older; examples of approaches and projects that are working; and insights from experienced funders and nonprofits on the unique possibilities that rural projects offer.
  • Case studies on the SOAR (Home & Heart: Supporting Older Adults in Rural Communities) program in South Dakota. Learn more about the Better Together: Age-friendly Neighbors program offered by Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota, about the Helpline Center's Outreach Support Program for older adults, and about the Teach SD intergenerational tech program offered through South Dakota State University Extension.  
  • Presentations on rural transportation from the 2017 GIA annual conference, by Allen Smart, Project Director, Rural Philanthropic Analysis, Campbell University; Carol Wright Kenderdine, Co-Director, National Aging & Disability Transportation Center; Amy St. Peter, Assistant Director, Maricopa Association of Governments; and Alana Knudson, Co-Director, NORC’s Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis.

Other GIA Rural Aging Resources

Other topic-specific resources can be found on these pages

Specific project activities will include:

  • Building an infrastructure to bring together key representatives in the rural aging movement, including face-to-face and virtual meetings.
  • Identifying the most useful information and materials on rural aging that are already available, identifying gaps, and creating and sharing new resources as needed. 
  • Establishing a broad-based, partners-in-funding group comprised of government, civic organizations, United Ways, Area Agencies on Aging, philanthropy, and other key players.
  • Launching a “Rural Aging in America” website and associated Learning Community, and adding briefing materials on rural aging to GIA’s own website.
  • Producing a short video and several infographics on the challenges and important work being done in rural aging.
  • Developing a messaging tool, “Talking about Rural Aging,” to share messages and strategies that have been effective in raising the profile of rural aging.

Help us pursue our mission and strengthen grantmaking to support the needs and potential of older people.