Huntsville, Ala. ---- A legal family educator for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) has been honored for his role in improving the lives of older adults throughout Alabama.
Kevin H. Crenshaw is the 2012 recipient of the 1890 Regional Award for Excellence in Extension for developing and implementing effective programs for aging adults in underserved urban and rural communities in Alabama. The award was presented recently during the 125th Annual Meeting of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) in Denver, Colo.
The regional awards are presented yearly to an Extension professional in each of five regions who excel at programming, provide visionary leadership, and make a positive impact on constituents served. Cooperative Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture have sponsored the awards since 1991. The 1890 region in which Crenshaw serves is composed of 17 historically black land-grant universities, primarily in the south.
A 12-year veteran of ACES, Crenshaw was recognized for founding and building the Successful Aging Initiative (SAI), a program offering innovative educational programs focusing on finance, health and legal education resources to older Alabaman citizens, as well as attention to current issues relating to aging and dementia.
“My vision is that Successful Aging will become less about what we do when faced with the challenges of aging and more about who we become to better prepare to age well—mind, body, and spirit,” commented Crenshaw on the future of his program.
Crenshaw launched SAI a decade ago by developing partnerships with the Alabama Bureau of Geriatric Psychiatry, the American Senior Assistance Programs, Inc., university officials, local community organizations and local churches.
With Crenshaw at the helm, SAI provides a diverse aging population with easy-to-understand information on how to save time and money, and how to make informed “end-of-life” decisions, such as estate planning. Materials also are delivered through statewide conferences and county programs.
Annually, SAI averages 9,000 face-to-face contacts, and more than 215,297 non face-to-face contacts. Thirteen conferences have been held and more than 2,400 Alabamian senior citizens attended one of the three conferences in 2011.
Economically, SAI has made a huge impact for senior citizens. At the statewide conference in 2011, for instance, more than 900 attendees participated in blood glucose, bone density, memory test and other health screenings that normally average $150-$200 per test, resulting in $135,000 total savings for participants. Additionally, 62 program participants saved more than $5,700 by scheduling an appointment to develop an estate plan with their local Area Agency on Aging.
ACES is a collaborative effort with Alabama A&M and Auburn University and provides relevant research-based information and opportunities to improve the quality of life and economic well-being of the people and communities in Alabama.