In July 2017 the Citizens League and the Minnesota Elder Justice, in partnership, commenced a project focusing on health decision making by and for solo older adults. The work was supported by a Community Innovations grant from the Bush Foundation. Solos were defined as “…individuals who, by choice or circumstance, function without the support system traditionally provided by family.”
In Phase 1 of the project, a 14-member Task Force spent a year gathering information, analyzing findings, and developing recommendations for future action. Task Force work was completed in November 2018. A complete description of Phase 1 is contained in a report released in February 2019 (Health Care Decision Making for People Aging Alone: Phase 1 Final Report.)
A second phase of this solos project was launched in January 2019 in the form of five small “pilot” projects. These were not intended to be comprehensive efforts, but rather small and low-cost opportunities to test the soundness of several of the Task Force recommendations. The projects were developed around the following criteria:
• Core activities had to be completed within the Phase 2 window (January 1 to June 15).
• Pilot objectives had to be achievable with limited resources.
• Each pilot had to help build capacity and/or expand upon the ideas generated by the Task Force.
• Pilot activities had to be scalable and sustainable, and
• Pilots had to involve solos or incorporate ideas and information generated by solos.