AARP Florida’s Second Annual Sharing Symposium: Connecting Age-Friendly Communities from Coast to Coast
Speed dating, iCloud polls, bubble boards, and AARP? Yes, and more!
AARP Florida recently hosted the Second Annual Sharing Symposium, a gathering of parties committed to being Age-Friendly and to AARP’s Livable Communities movement. To date, sixteen communities in the state of Florida are designated as Age-Friendly.
As a first-timer, I was in awe of the collective knowledge and experience of the attendees, most having worked decades in the field of aging. The event was truly a sharing experience – structured but informal, interactive, and highly engaging. Hence, speed dating.
In this activity, attendees broke into groups and rotated to various stations where initiative leaders briefly shared their community’s unique take on implementing Age-Friendly plans. Hallandale Beach became a Healthy Community Zone, partnering with local organizations, resources, and residents in a shared vision of health, economic development and education for their neighborhoods. In drafting their Age-Friendly Action Plan, Pinellas County added Emergency Management and Public Safety & Security to the eight existing domains of livability identified by the World Health Organization. St. Petersburg posted ‘bubble boards’ on easels at various local events such as farmer’s markets to ask what the community was doing well, what could be improved upon, and how they might grow closer as a region. These red, poster-sized boards feature white bubbles that allow participants to weigh in by responding with a dry erase marker to questions like ‘How can we make it easier to get around?’ and ‘Do our parks and public spaces have what you are looking for?’ Once the bubbles are filled in, a photo is taken to record responses, the board erased, and the process is begun anew.
Tallahassee launched Lifelong Outdoor Pursuits, a program featuring monthly outdoor recreational workshops for individuals age 50+ and of all skill levels. The first ‘pursuit’ was the Slow Roll Boomer Bike Ride, a guided bike tour showcasing improvements made downtown by the city and county; cycling tips were shared in route. In the Housing Domain, Tallahassee sponsored a program on downsizing, featuring an overview of housing options, the AARP Home Fit Guide, a Do I Move or Do I Stay discussion panel, and a keynote speaker on the topic of decluttering and downsizing. Post-event, they held “Listening and Sharing” downsizing sessions in response to feedback from the 170+ program participants. Sarasota’s Age-Friendly Festival garnered an enthusiastic response with several attendees indicating that they hoped to host such an event in their own communities.
These examples represent just a few of the many ideas exchanged at the symposium and serves as a stark reminder that the wheel does not have to be reinvented when looking for opportunities to create a community #ForAllAges. Great ideas abound. We as individuals and in community need only to create the time and space in which gather, listen, and share.
And the iCloud polling? Texted survey responses from symposium attendees revealed that the favored first-day event was speed dating, and an idea they were likely to take home to their own communities? Bubble boards. Learning at any age can be fun.
- TAGS: External Stakeholders, Issues to Aspirations, Outputs to Outcomes, Partner Alignment, Silos to Systems
- CATEGORIES: Age-Friendly Movement, Communication and Information