Great Plains Senior Services Collaborative: Transforming Lives in America’s Rural Communities

Charlotte Haberaecker
Case Example
July 2019

This resource describes the Great Plains Senior Services Collaborative, an initiative to improve health and quality of life for rural seniors.

  • Populations of rural seniors face significant challenges, tied to social determinants of health ranging from lack of transportation and food insecurity to limited resources and social isolation.
  • In 2015, Lutheran Services in America launched Phase I of its ongoing Great Plains Senior Services Collaborative. The program was designed to leverage the unique resources of rural communities and develop person-centered approaches to help seniors remain in their homes and communities. Services ranged from aiding with transportation to medical appointments to helping coordinate visits to friends and families.
  • Over 1,500 high-need older adults and their families were supported with the engagement of more than 130 partners and stakeholders. Results indicated successfully improving the health and quality of life of over 1,100 vulnerable older adults in more than 70 communities throughout rural Minnesota and North Dakota.
  • The model’s first round of results from 2015-2019, supported by independent validation from officials at North Dakota State University, found 88.4% of program participants reported their health and quality of life had improved; 90.2% reported reduced stress, and 98.6% said the program they participated in was of high quality
  • The most successful program implementations resulted from partnerships with organizations and churches that had an established community presence. Strong local, state and national partnerships also were of value.
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