Feedback from the Age-Friendly Sarasota Survey
The Age-Friendly Sarasota survey is a required data-collection component of the World Health Organization age-friendly community process. The questionnaire addresses items associated with our quality of living as we age in eight areas of life – the Domains of Livability:
For more information about the domains, click here.
Although our goal in collecting the data is for our community’s collective purposes (i.e. how many people express an interest in alternative housing options), the survey is also quite informative to individuals to think about their own longevity. For example, people who have taken the survey have expressed feedback about what they learned – and their input was both reassuring and enlightening.
According to Francis, a 70+ year-old single male, the question about how many people one knows in their neighborhood was quite telling. Francis stopped counting at 30 and reflected about how blessed he was to have so many friends. Indeed, Francis is a lucky man to have so many friendships in his neighborhood!
For many, people and relationships make life worth living, and the absence of friends is associated with multiple health impacts as we age. Especially in Sarasota, where people have often relocated, cultivating, maintaining and, most importantly, celebrating those friendships is indeed beneficial as we age.
Another take on what was learned from the survey comes from Louise, a recent transplant from Pennsylvania who, along with two friends, authored a book about shared housing titled “My House, Our House.” As a result of her own personal planning, Louise proactively planned for her own housing needs via home-sharing and through universal design applications throughout her lovely Florida home.
Yet despite all she has put into place and anticipated, the survey also prompted her to consider aspects of living that she hadn’t previously considered. For example, she expressed that seemingly straightforward issues like transportation to get out and about are far more complex than she had thought. Things like walking, benches, bus stops and other accommodations were not on her radar.
Her considerations are exactly the issues that we aim to tackle in our age-friendly work. It is our hope that all persons who take the Age-Friendly Sarasota survey learn a thing or two about their own future planning!