In its first two years, the Aging Well program has awarded $10 million in grants to 38 organizations that serve adults with lower incomes. Grantees are focused on improving older adults’ physical, mental and financial health; supporting productive aging, emotional well-being, and social engagement; and making improvements to the built environment that enhance physical safety.  

Funded by the Edward N. and Della L. Thome Memorial Foundation, Bank of America trustee, the Aging Well program is conducting multiple grant phases to both scale efforts with proven results and foster innovative approaches to the structural barriers that hinder the ability of older adults to age well while continuing to live in their homes. 

Key Takeaways 

Though grantees have had differing scopes of work, they served similar populations of older adults with lower incomes who were experiencing the same challenges to their ability to age in place. 

At the end of the first year, grantees shared these key strategies for organizations serving older adults aging in place: 

  1. Increase older adult agency – Older adults living with low-incomes often lack the financial means to participate in enrichment activities or to visit local retail or cultural sites. Onsite no- or low-cost enrichment programs enhance older adults’ sense of agency. 
  2. Address feelings of loneliness and isolation – COVID-19 exacerbated older adults’ isolation and loneliness as they were forced to comply with social distancing and quarantine policies as determined by the CDC. Onsite programs have increased older adults’ ability to connect with others. 
  3. Create cooperative networks of local services – Organizations working together can create local networks that extend the reach of any single service provider.  

About the Program 

An older adult stands at the bottom of the staircase to talk with an older adult sitting on the stairs

Launched in 2022 as a four-year, $19 million grant program, Aging Well was designed to support older adults who want to age safely and securely at home in their affordable housing communities in Maryland and Michigan.  

In addition to receiving funding, each grantee participates in a multi-year learning collaborative comprised of other grantees from their state, receives technical assistance from a third-party evaluation firm and has the opportunity to network with funders in the field. 

The program was designed to improve the health and well-being of older adults with lower incomes by supporting organizations that are dedicated to: 

  • Helping these individuals age with dignity at home 
  • Incubating new and innovative programs 
  • Sharing knowledge across a rich partner network 

The program prioritizes organizations serving communities or groups that have and are continuing to experience persistent health inequities. 

Innovate Phase

Scale What's Working I grantees' period of performance ends August 31, 2024, and the Scale What's Working II grantees' period of performance is from September 2023 to September 2025. The next phase of the program will focus on catalyzing innovation in the field. Winners of this next phase will be announced in May of 2024.

Contact Claire Louis, Director of the Thome Aging Well Program, or Stephany De Scisciolo, VP, Impact, Evaluation, and Population Health, for more information.