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Sarasota County’s Age-Friendly “Trifecta”

Sarasota County’s Age-Friendly “Trifecta”

According to the Urban Dictionary, a trifecta is a perfect group of three...winning three times. Sarasota has just reached the “Age-Friendly Trifecta!”

Sarasota County became Florida’s first age-friendly community in 2015. Sarasota Memorial Hospital followed in 2019 when it was designated as an Age-Friendly Health System and received recognition for being committed to excellent care. Completing the trifecta is the recent acknowledgment of The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota (DOH-Sarasota) as the first local health department in the nation to be recognized as an Age-Friendly Public Health System by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH).

The AFPHS Recognition Program is designed to encourage and support state and local health departments to embrace their role in improving and supporting older adult health. Action steps taken to achieve this goal include data collection, listening directly to older adults to learn what matters to them, and collaboration across sectors.

To achieve AFPHS recognition, DOH-Sarasota

  • conducted several assessments, including a citizens’ opinion survey
  • developed a county wide multi-agency program to provide food to residents during the pandemic
  • developed a multi-year Community Health Improvement Plan
  • and recently completed its fifth-year cycle as a member of AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities.

The State of Florida has been deeply committed to improving the health and well-being of older Floridians. TFAH worked directly with two-thirds of Florida’s county health departments to pilot the framework for creating AFPHS, through which the department staff explored and expanded their roles in healthy aging. This effort included creating and supporting collaborations between the public health and aging sectors, collecting data about the state’s older adult population, and ensuring planning and programming through the lens of aging community members.

“Sarasota County, Florida is on the vanguard of communities that are recognizing the importance of creating an age-friendly ecosystem across sectors to meet the unique needs of older adults,” said Terry Fulmer, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, president of The John A. Hartford Foundation. “Becoming the first local health department recognized as an Age-Friendly Public Health System shows a deep commitment to supporting healthy aging, which will benefit all the county’s residents. We congratulate the Sarasota County Department of Health, under the leadership of Health Officer Charles H. Henry, for achieving this recognition.”

Public health departments and systems can make important contributions to the health and productivity of older Americans. TFAH and The John A. Hartford Foundation are partnering with state and local health departments to help them implement a public health framework within their department activities to support the health and well-being of their older adult residents.

Learn more about the Age-Friendly Public Health Systems initiative.


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