SCOPE has spent the past few months sharing the results from the Aging with Dignity & Independence research with just about anybody willing to listen and think about this. Elected officials, chambers of commerce, nonprofit service providers, business associations, and alliances and councils targeting older adults were receptive. During March, SCOPE facilitated community presentations at area libraries and the information seemed to resonate with many residents, prompting exchange of experiences and ideas. Many of the attendees were retirees interested in considering how the research themes might inform them – What impact might this have on my life? What do I need to pay greater attention to? What action can I take for myself or how might I help be part of a solution?
Some of the participants were younger; there for the most part, because of a professional connection. Some were service providers like folks from Senior Friendship Centers and Jewish Family & Children’s Services, keenly focused on quality of life issues for an older population. Others were tuned-in to the reality of an older demographic – like staff members from the local libraries interested in possibilities, being a gathering place and resource for all ages.
Some of the thinking that bubbled up in the discussions:
· Residents in both Venice and Englewood were interested in a model program for elder-friendly business certifications, a “good housekeeping” seal of approval for businesses.
· The North Port Community Health Action Team (CHAT) decided to team up with the North Port Library to work on strategies and share ideas with a coalition of area faith organizations.
· One mobile home park in Englewood already has an Angie’s – type list for their residents. Sharing information and ideas with neighbors was encouraged and informal networks were supported.
· In north Sarasota, the Friendship at Home program was touted as a way to volunteer and help share information with isolated seniors.
· In North Port some discussed forming a network in a specific geographic area to mimic the supportive community often experienced in “over-55” retirement developments.
· In Englewood there was concern about understanding health insurance. Local resources were shared.
· One discussion touched on the perceived interests of baby boomers. Do you think newly retired boomers are so busy enjoying their Florida lifestyle that they will have little interest in helping out in their community? We would love to hear your thoughts on this.