Heritage Area Agency on Aging’s Encore Café has received a 2019 Aging Innovations Award, the highest honor presented to member agencies by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a). The awards program – supported by WellCare Health Plans – named Encore Café to the top-16 among 48 aging programs recognized at the n4a Annual Conference & Tradeshow.
The Encore Café is a new take on traditional senior dining programs and emphasizes combating social isolation and increasing health and wellness in older adults. Beyond the range of healthy menu options, attendees can participate in evidence-based programming, cooking demonstrations and dietitian visits. It also connects diners to additional Heritage Agency services such as case management, elder rights and caregiver support.
Since opening in May 2018, Encore Café has served more than 10,000 meals to more than 400 unique participants who were not previously participating in congregate meal programs.
“We’re honored to be recognized for the success of Encore Café,” said Heritage’s Co-Director, Jill Sindt. “This program has proven to be a great place for older adults to not only have a delicious meal, but also connect with people in their communities and learn about their overall health and wellness. We’ve already assisted other agencies in implementing the Encore Café model and hope to see its popularity rise even more with national recognition.”
The 2019 n4a Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards recognizes Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and Title VI Native American aging programs that develop and implement cutting-edge approaches to support older adults, people with disabilities and their family caregivers. Among the selection criteria was the ease with which other agencies could replicate the program in their communities.