Age-Friendly Sarasota: How did we get here?
Sarasota County represents one of the nation’s highest populations of older adults with one-third age 65 and older and more than one-half age 50 and older, according to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. There is mounting interest on efforts to enhance aging in community. Aging well in community is a key focus and priority for government and professional organizations via many initiatives, and on many levels including:
1) Local- Sarasota County Senior Advisory Council
2) State - Florida Department of Elder Affairs Communities for a Lifetime
3) National - AARPs’ Livable Communities
4) International – World Health Organization Age-Friendly Communities (AFC)
Age-Friendly Sarasota, which launched May 6, builds on the past work of The Patterson Foundation’sAging with Dignity and Independence Initiative, a community-based effort to better understand factors impacting the experience of aging with dignity and independence in the context of community.
The findings led to “actionable themes” that paralleled the WHO Age-Friendly Cities initiative. Continued community engagement advancing these efforts included building support for the Age-Friendly Sarasota proposal with the support of the following organizations:
- University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee
- AARP Florida
- Sarasota County Senior Advisory Council
- Florida Department of Elder Affairs
- University of South Florida Policy Exchange Center on Aging
- Area Agency on Aging of Southwest Florida
- Senior Friendship Centers
- Sarasota County Aging Network
- Stakeholders in Aging Consortium/ Community Alliance of Sarasota County
- Visit Sarasota
- Economic Development Council of Sarasota County
- The Patterson Foundation
- ITN (Independent Transportation Network)
- Jewish Family and Children’s Service of the Suncoast, Inc.
- University of South Florida - Lifelong Learning Academy
Key milestones include:
August 3, 2014: Senior Advisory Council provided its recommendation to the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners.
July- August 2014: October Meetings with Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners.
January 9, 2015: Sarasota Board of County Commissioners endorses application to the AARP Network of World Health Organization Global Network of Age-friendly Communities.
February 24, 2015: Sarasota officially enters the WHO/AARP Global Network of age-friendly communities.
May 6, 2015: Age-Friendly Sarasota is officially launched.