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September 21, 2019

8/26/2019 11:13:00 AM
HeART Coalition celebrates National Senior Citizens Day

The Iowa County Health Department is pleased to announce Geana Shemak as the new Community Coordinator/Educator for the HeART (Healthy Aging in Rural Towns) Coalition. Geana is a native of Colorado but has lived in Wisconsin for six years. Geana worked at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, CO as the Clinical Coordinator for the Athletic Training Program, taught numerous courses in the Kinesiology Department, and worked with various sports teams as a Certified Athletic Trainer. She is currently working on her PhD in Health Promotion and Wellness. With her education and experience, she could not pass up the opportunity to work for such a great cause. Geana is passionate about healthy living and addressing all dimensions of wellness. Practicing wellness is a lifestyle and she is excited to play a role in providing opportunities for individuals to improve and enhance their overall wellness. She is eager to collaborate with various agencies to better serve the aging population in Iowa County.
As the Community Coordinator/Educator, Geana is responsible for implementing strategies to achieve HeART goals. She will continue to establish sustainable connections across agencies and service providers to ensure that we are all working to provide support for the aging population.
An aging-friendly community is the goal of a new project spearheaded by the Iowa County HeART Coalition. HeART Coalition members include retired Iowa County residents, representatives from the Iowa County Health Department, ADRC, UW-Madison Extension, Dodgeville Library, Upland Hills Health, County Board Supervisors, Agrace Hospice and Palliative Care, Seniors United for Nutrition Program, Caregivers Support Program, Elder Abuse Program, Dementia Care, SWCAP Foster Grandparents Program, Emergency Management and more. Project staff from the UW-Madison School of Nursing provide leadership for the Coalition.
The Healthy Aging in Rural Towns (HeART) initiative will result in an action plan for strengthening community supports for older adults and their caregivers, encouraging older adults to stay in Iowa County. We want older adults in HeART communities to have the support they need to thrive in their home communities. We want to help people remain independent and active as they age, and improve their quality of life. This is a collaborative effort to assist older adults live full, meaningful lives with dignity and independence. We hope to engage older adults and their caregivers to invest in their own health and promote a sense of autonomy.
We just celebrated National Senior Citizens Day which is a day to show our appreciation for our seniors and recognize and celebrate their accomplishments. This is an opportunity to pay appreciation and gratitude to our seniors who are full of wisdom and experiences that we can learn and benefit from in many ways.
The HeART Coalition will be working on a number of "aging well" objectives throughout the next two years. The main objectives of the coalition will focus on Resources and Outreach, Access/Mobility/Transportation, Socialization, and Caregiver Support. We need to increase
awareness of existing resources and services available to older adults and their caregivers but also develop additional programs. Our goals include the development of a website with an all inclusive list of resources for older adults and caregivers, priority parking options, drop-off spots for individuals with limited mobility, new and accessible drop box locations for unused/expired medications, safer pedestrian options, senior friendly events, and many other projects to enhance the aging experience. Some projects have already been implemented including priority parking options during special events in the community, AARP Driver Safety courses, caregiver support groups, and memory care packets that can be checked out at the Dodgeville library.
The coalition is partnering with the Aging and Disability Resource Center, UW-Madison School of Nursing, Respite Care Association of Wisconsin, and other topic experts to coordinate trainings and educational opportunities for caregivers.
To learn more, visit the HeART web page at https://care.nursing.wisc.edu/heart/. If you would like to be involved in any of these efforts, contact Geana Shemak, Community Coordinator/Educator, Iowa County Health Department, 303 W. Chapel St., Dodgeville, WI 53533, 608.930.9875,
Geana.shemak@iowacounty.org.





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