Committed To Becoming More Age-Friendly
Tallahassee United States of America
Since 2001, Tallahassee has participated in the Florida Department of Elder Affairs’ Communities For A Lifetime (CFAL) initiative to make our community more age-friendly. Several ‘domains’ were inventoried throughout the process to assess livability, particularly for older adults. Action plans resulted in several enhancements to improve the quality of life of our citizens of all ages. Many partners were involved, both governmental and private. This Communities For A Lifetime project will serve as a springboard to further target age-friendly policies, programs & services that will better serve older people and make our community more age-friendly.
Abundant opportunities for social participation exist throughout the community for diverse interests, from churches to sporting events to art and culture. Social fitness is a by-product of every activity offered at the Tallahassee Senior Center or one of our 15 satellite sites. Several on-line calendars and e-mail blasts are available for people to receive, including Council on Culture & Arts and talgov.com (the Tallahassee Government website), and the local Tallahassee Democrat newspaper published Active Living magazine bi-monthly. The Leon County Commission funds senior programs in all six unincorporated communities, helping over 1,700 seniors each year that might otherwise be isolated. Further inclusionary programs will be further explored.
Older people are highly regarded in our community and have numerous opportunities to serve on citizens’ advisory councils and in many leadership roles. TSC offers TALL (Tallahassee Active Lifelong Leaders) program annually to better educate and train individuals to serve on boards and have valuable input into the community’s decision-making. The local lead agency, Elder Care Services, sponsors: Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Foster Grandparent, and Senior Companion programs to place volunteers in all aspects of our community. A representative from TSC sits on the local Blueprint 2000 committee to be the “eye” for seniors during planning and construction projects.
Average attendance at the monthly Coalition on Aging reaches 70. Businesses and organizations work together to best serve older citizens and their caregivers. This network which, in addition to typical senior services, includes realtors, lawyers, veterinarians, and builders, chooses to bowl together in a summer league. Additionally AARP and TSC recently began a program in May (2015) at the Senior Center. Local high school students work one-on-one with seniors providing mentoring on electronic devices, social media and applications (apps). The initial event was a huge success and a follow-up program will be conducted in July (2015). Potentially, monthly events may follow, as interest continues.
To recognize older adults for their contributions after age 60, TSC hosts the annual Silver Stars event. The City and County also coordinate Home Repair programs for low income seniors and ‘Granny Cottages’ are allowed in certain areas to help families cope with aging parents. The City’s REACH program in partnership with Community Action Agency helps low income residents weatherize their homes. In addition, Senior Services works with all of the local senior housing communities to help citizens find solutions for their specific circumstances.
We look forward to further presenting our current practices and examining opportunities for future enhancements. Through the next steps of our age-friendly assessment, we look forward to filling in gaps to continue to become an even more livable community for all ages.