Celebrating the Age-Friendly Sarasota journey
As we look ahead to the New Year, we're reflecting on and celebrating some of the milestones of Age-Friendly Sarasota's first year to recognize the contributions made by so many throughout our community. As a broad-scale effort poised for community change, we are particularly appreciative of all of the people, groups, organizations and aligned initiatives throughout the community that have assisted us in our efforts to date.
In January 2015, the Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners applied for status into the global World Health Organization Age-Friendly Community Network. The designation was supported for a variety of factors including alignment with the Senior Advisory Council’s priorities for seniors, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs Communities for a Lifetime Initiative, and AARP’s Livable Communities agenda.
Age-Friendly Sarasota is supported by The Patterson Foundation in partnership with Sarasota County Government, AARP, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, the Florida Policy Exchange Center at USF, and the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee.
On May 6, Age-Friendly Sarasota launched and began a baseline phase to assess our community’s assets and residents’ aspiration as we journey toward our collective age-friendly future. This research involved collecting input through surveys and focus groups throughout the county, and we worked feverishly to hear from people age 50 and older from multiple sources. Our survey was available in paper copies, electronically and in Spanish.
We reached many people and organizations over the past year including:
- Sarasota County Libraries
- Senior Friendship Centers
- Jewish Family and Children's Service of the Suncoast
- iTn Suncoast
- Homeowner Associations: Laurel Civic Association, Gulf Gate Community Association, Turtle Rock Men’s Club
- SALT- Seniors & Law Enforcement Together
- Suncoast Alliance for Lifelong Learning
- American Association of University Women
- Pines of Sarasota
- First Congregational United Church of Christ
- St. Jude Catholic Church
- St. Jude’s Hispanic Festival
- Sarasota Housing Authority Resident meeting
- Community Health Action Teams throughout the county
- Senior Advisory Council
- Stakeholders in Aging Consortium
- Florida Studio Theatre's Panel on Aging
- Downtown Sarasota Condo Association Forum
- Universal Design Housing Forum
- Sarasota County Comprehensive Plan Forums on Housing, Land Use, Environment
- Sarasota County Parks & Recreation Public Workshops
- SCAT Public Workshop
- Florida Studio Theatre's "Old Enough to Know Better" performances
- Sarasota Farmers Market
- Phillipe Estate Farmers Market
- Venice Farmers Market
- Cornerstone Lifecare
- Senior Blue Book
- Community Alliance
- USF-SM Beth Baker events
By year’s end, we conducted 70 local activities attended by more than 2,500 people. Moreover, Age-Friendly Sarasota was exposed to more than 34,000 people! Our efforts were exceptionally fruitful as we have received 1,127 surveys and conducted eight focus groups involving another 45 people.
We look forward to sharing our learnings in 2016 and encourage you to follow us on our website, Facebook or Twitter to hear more in upcoming months!
* We are particularly grateful for the countless individuals who have assisted us in our efforts to date. We couldn’t have done it without you!