The Iowa Association of Area Agencies on Aging welcomes Kelly Butts-Elston, CEO of Connections Area Agency on Aging, as its incoming board president. Kelly has led Connections AAA since 2017 and worked at the agency since 2003. She has served on the i4a board of directors as Vice-President, Secretary/Treasurer, and as a member of the advocacy committee. Kelly also represents Iowa as an alternate board member for the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) and has served as the n4a statewide grassroots advocacy coordinator.
“I look forward to serving on this board of caring, intelligent, and collaborative peers,” said Kelly regarding her role as board president. “I am excited to do the planning and advocacy work with this group over the next year.” As an aging network advocate, Kelly stated that LifeLong Links is the key to resources for independence for older Iowans, individuals with disabilities, and family caregivers. She also believes that elder abuse laws need to be strengthened in Iowa. “Iowa needs an elder abuse law that addresses crimes against all aging Iowans, not just those deemed ‘dependent’.”
While the pandemic remains a top priority related to the safety of older Iowans, Kelly also states that Iowa’s aging network must remain vigilant in educating the public about frauds, scams, and other forms of elder abuse. She also believes that the aging network must continue to identify and provide resources that support aging in place.
“My hope for this next year is that the aging network receives sufficient funding to support the needs of older Iowans, adults with disabilities, and family caregivers,” Kelly said regarding her vision for the network. “We must continue to provide exceptional customer service and provide information and resources to those we serve. During a time of COVID-19, we must continue to our high level of service to encourage and advocate for the safety of those we serve as we move towards a post-pandemic time.”
Outgoing President’s Message
Shelly Sindt, CEO at Elderbridge Area Agency on Aging, has served as i4a board president during the past two years. Shelly has led Elderbridge AAA since 2017 and has worked in the aging network since 1997. Shelly stated that she is proud of how i4a has grown even stronger. “Our association is rich in its history with its long-term members and broad experience,” Shelly said of i4a. “We have stronger advocacy connections with our national association as well as with our Congressional and State elected officials. We will continue to strengthen through advocacy and customer service.”
“My hope for the aging network is that we continue to develop flexible services that support the quality of life for older Iowans, adults with disabilities, and family caregivers that comes from remaining in their homes and communities of their choosing,” said Shelly considering the future of the aging network in Iowa. “We are a very synergistic network who provide core services statewide and share best practices with each other. We will continue to advocate so that Iowans continue to have a voice in home and community-based services that they need to ensure a high quality of life.”