Knowledge Center

Welcome to RRF Foundation for Aging’s Knowledge Center, powered by IssueLab. This collection contains knowledge generated by grantees and other partners, specifically with regard to RRF priority areas and topics of relevance to our work in the field of aging. Within this Knowledge Center you will find resources and key learnings catered towards professionals working to better the lives of older people.

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Investing in Caregivers: An Essential Resource for Our Nation

May 18, 2021

We are pleased to introduce RRF's second issue brief in a series of publications describing the foundation's approach to grantmaking and improving the quality of life of older people.  Investing in Caregivers: An Essential Resource for Our Nation provides an overview of the key issues around caregiver support, describes some of the work the foundation is funding to address these issues, and invites others to join us in developing the next generation of solutions to address this increasingly important issue.More than 53 million people—one in five of us in the U.S.—are family caregivers who provide essential support to older adults who can no longer live independently. Estimates suggest that the care they provide is worth nearly half a trillion dollars, an economic contribution significantly greater than all government outlays for institutional and community-based long-term services and support (LTSS) combined. This makes caregivers the nation's largest healthcare workforce, an indispensable part of the health and social service delivery system for older adults and a vital resource for the nation.Read our latest issue brief to learn more about the strategies RRF is investing in and the innovative work of our grantees in this critical area.Click "Download" to access this resource.


Working Together to Achieve Economic Security in Later Life

January 21, 2021

We are pleased to introduce RRF's issue brief on Economic Security in Later Life. This is the first in a series that, together, will describe the foundation's approach to grantmaking and to working to improve the quality of life of older people. It is also an invitation to others to partner with the foundation to develop new and innovative ways that will enable more older adults to achieve a greater measure of financial well-being.RRF envisions a future in which all of us, as we age, have the means to achieve a secure and dignified later life—sufficient income to meet basic expenses; assistance, if needed, to plan and manage our income and savings effectively; and a stable, equitable public and private system of supports, services, and protections that can help us achieve and maintain economic well-being.All too often, discussions of economic security lay blame on individuals and their inability to "save for retirement." Most of us, however, work hard throughout our lives (and many of us must continue to work well past a traditional retirement age). We pay taxes, contribute to Social Security and other programs and help our communities in many ways. Despite this, financial struggles in later life are distressingly common, resulting from larger economic forces beyond our control, systemic inequities, and an insufficient safety net.This brief describes RRF's interest in promoting economic security in later life, as well as our commitment to generating innovative solutions to the challenges we face. We look forward to joining with others in this important work.Click "Download" to access this resource.

Economic Security in Later Life

National Resource Center on Women and Retirement

October 1, 2020

The National Resource Center on Women and Retirement (the Center) provides a one-stop gateway that integrates financial information, tools and resources on retirement planning for women and families to improve their financial health and avoid financial exploitation.The Center is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL). For more than twenty years, WISER and ACL's Administration on Aging have worked together to reach women most at-risk for poverty in old age and help them achieve a more financially secure future.Click "Download" to access this resource.

Economic Security in Later Life; Women

Best Practice Caregiving

January 1, 2020

Best Practice Caregiving is a free online database of proven dementia programs for family caregivers. It offers a searchable, interactive, national database of vetted, effective programs that offer much-needed information and support. The database is an invaluable tool for healthcare and community-based organizations, as well as funders and policy makers to discover and share high quality programs for caregivers.In the Best Practice database you will find detailed information about: the focus of each program (e.g., reducing stress, understanding dementia, planning care, skill-building, health & wellness, etc.); program implementation; research findings; direct utilization experiences of delivery sites; program developer information.Click "Download" to access this resource.


Connecting Generations in Senior Housing: A Program Implementation Toolkit

January 1, 2020

This toolkit was developed by Generations United and the Leading Age LTSS Center @UMass Boston with funding from the RRF Foundation for Aging (formerly the Retirement Research Foundation). It was designed specifically to help senior housing organizations plan and implement high-quality intergenerational programs that will benefit residents and young people in their communities. While designed with senior housing organizations in mind, a range of organizations interested in planning and implementing intergenerational programs and activities will also find the toolkit useful. There are many ways to take an intergenerational approach to programming. The materials contained in the toolkit can help you begin developing your program and/or give you tips on deepening or expanding your intergenerational work.

Housing; Social and Intergenerational Connectedness

Gaining Momentum: A FrameWorks Communications Toolkit

March 1, 2017

The way Americans currently think about aging creates obstacles to productive practices and policies. How can the field of aging help build a better understanding of aging, ageism, and what it will take to create a more age-integrated society?Click "Download" to access this resource.

Policy Options for Integrating Health and Housing for Low-Income Older Adults

July 14, 2021

Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation, Community Catalyst in partnership with Leading Age LTSS Center @UMass Boston, authored a report outlining policy options to improve the integration of health care services with affordable housing for low-income older people.In recent years, there has been an increased recognition of the impact of stable and quality housing on health outcomes, including for older adults with complex health and social needs. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic, which severely impacted older adults and particularly older adults of color, has forced a rethinking of our long-term care system. As we straddle the pandemic and post-pandemic world, we have a unique window of opportunity to re-envision care for older adults that meets their needs.Through focus groups with low-income older adults and stakeholder interviews, research surfaced five key building blocks for success:Emphasizing collaboration;Ensuring resident control;Being aware of what matters to residents;Making it easier to secure capital and finance projects; andConvening stakeholders to grow connectivity within the fieldClick "Download" to access this resource online.


Activating the Village: A Culturally Responsive Approach to Place-based Aging for the Latino Community of Colorado

June 15, 2021

This final report provides insights on Latino Age Wave Colorado (LAWC). Launched in 2010, LAWC was the longest running program of the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado, and served as the inspiration and guide for much of LCFC's strategic planning over its lifetime.


Fast Facts: Identifying the Root Causes of Gender Disparities in Retirement

June 3, 2021

This Fast Fact report from The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) highlights statistics captured as part of the organization's April 2021 Issue Brief – Retirees in Profile: Evaluating Five Distinct Lifestyles in Retirement.These findings underscore that despite significant improvements in women's labor force participation over the past decades, gender inequality remains a persistent issue in many aspects of women's working lives, including retirement security. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, disparities have grown. Older women have been disproportionately represented in industries that suffered heavily from the pandemic, such as retail and hospitality. Policy changes that are sensitive to women's unique retirement needs can help narrow the gap.The Employee Benefit Research Institute is a nonpartisan, tax-exempt organization contributing to sound employee benefit programs and public policy through independent, objective, fact-based research and education.This report was developed with support from RRF Foundation for Aging.Click "Download" to access this resource.

Economic Security in Later Life; Women

Guide to Insurance in Contracting

April 23, 2021

The Guide to Insurance in Contracting provides general guidance on a variety of insurance options for community-based organizations (CBOs) seeking or engaged in contracting work with health care entities. This new resource guide helps get readers started with the basics of health care contracting insurance.This resource is part of the Aging and Disability Business Institute's multi-part Contracting Toolkit. Additional resource guides can be accessed via their website.Click "Download" to access this resource.

Paying Family Caregivers to Provide Care during the Pandemic- and Beyond

March 5, 2021

Medicaid is the primary funder of long-term services and supports (LTSS) in the United States. It provides those services and supports either through institutional care (i.e., nursing home care) or home- and community-based services (HCBS). This report explains that one cost-effective HCBS option with multiple advantages is to pay family members to provide care for older people and adults with physical disabilities.Pandemic Phenomenon: Long-Term Care Concerns MagnifiedThe COVID-19 outbreak has intensified longstanding problems in long-term care. Nursing homes were among the first COVID-19 "hotspots" in the United States, with their residents' death rates far exceeding the general population. Meanwhile, the pandemic has only exacerbated nursing homes' challenges related to social isolation, and the physical and mental harms from isolation are well documented. The COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated the ongoing nationwide shortage of direct care workers and high turnover within the industry.What Gets in the Way of Enabling a Promising ResourceIn spite of the advantages of providing pay for family caregivers, the concept has met certain barriers. One of the most common restrictions states impose is that a person may not hire his or her spouse as a paid caregiver, with the rationale that caring for one another is a responsibility inherent in the spousal relationship. In a pandemic environment, of course, this restriction can force spousal caregivers to work outside the house and bring in an outside caregiver, both of which raise the risk of infection. Concerns about family members committing fraud by billing for hours not worked has also motivated restrictions even as fraud is, in fact, extremely rare.Paying Family Caregivers Benefits Families and TaxpayersFamily caregiving already serves a critical role in mitigating the growing strain on the LTSS system, in part by expanding the caregiver pool. As Americans continue to live longer, family members are providing ever more complex care at home, often for longer periods of time. A family caregiver's responsibility to provide that high level of care can make it difficult or even impossible for them to maintain another job. Therefore, paid family caregiving answers multiple needs:The person who needs care can age at home, which is the preference for the vast majority of people who need LTSS.The family caregiver earns modest income, mitigating the impact of lost job hours.It is a lifeline to families who cannot otherwise afford to care for their family member.Costs are kept lower. One analysis found the average monthly cost for self-directed care was $1,774 in 2019, compared to $6,175 for a semi-private nursing home room.Costly institutionalization is delayed or avoided entirely.ConclusionWhen COVID-19 cases began mounting during the spring of 2020, state Medicaid agencies lifted some restrictions and allowed more family members to be hired and paid as caregivers. States should now consider implementing permanent policies that encourage and facilitate paid family caregiving, and invest in support services for caregivers. Current Medicaid reimbursement rates are not sufficient to attract enough direct care workers into the professional home care workforce, and COVID-19-related budget shortfalls and balanced budget requirements mean reimbursement rates will not be raised any time soon.Click "Download" to access this resource.


Fast Facts: A Tale of Three Retirement Lifestyles

March 4, 2021

Spending in retirement is an increasingly important area of focus of the retirement industry, plan sponsors, and policymakers as more individuals enter retirement. Indeed, in the third quarter of 2020, about 28.6 million Baby Boomers - those born between 1946 and 1964 - reported that they were out of the labor force due to retirement. Yet not enough is understood about how retirees spend their money and, just as importantly, why they spend the way they do.In its Issue Brief, "Why Do People Spend the Way They Do in Retirement? Findings From EBRI's Spending in Retirement Survey," the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) reported the spending habits and situation of 2,000 individuals ages 62 to 75 at and during retirement. Three types of retirees in particular stood out: (1) highly indebted retirees who described their debt as unmanageable or even crushing; (2) long-term secure retirees, or those retirees who reported they had long-term care insurance; and (3) full-nester retirees, or those reporting that they had at least one child at home with them. These three groups are highly distinct from one another and paint a portrait of starkly different retirement lifestyles depending on these circumstances.EBRI was able to fund development of this research thanks to a generous grant from RRF Foundation for Aging.Click "Download" to read the summary of EBRI's research.

Economic Security in Later Life

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