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Older Adults: Goals and Potential Community Strategies and Initiatives

Goal 1: Older Adults will be able to maintain an active and stimulating social life as they age.

In addition to a prima facie improvement to quality of life, research shows that having an active and stimulating social life improves the physical and mental health of older adults. Unfortunately, many individuals become socially isolated as they get older. Older adults often lose their social support network, the people in their lives they can talk to, spend time with, and get help from, and as a result withdraw socially. Older adults who lose friends and family members may have holes in their social networks that are difficult to fill.

Potential Community Strategies and Initiatives
  1. Offer dinner at Senior Centers / Go Dine program
  2. Offer older adult technology training through Buffalo and Erie County Public Library

Goal 2: Erie County will be accessible to people of all ages.

Central to the creation of livable communities is the ability for everyone, regardless of age or ability, to visit and travel conveniently, safely and comfortably. Older adults often have a more restricted range of abilities, and are unable to take advantage of some opportunities in our community. Older adults interact with infrastructure in ways that reflect changing lifestyles and changing physical capabilities. Conditions such as chronic disease and limited vision may limit mobility and create special needs. Through investment and planning, Erie County can become accessible to people of all ages.

Potential Community Strategies and Initiatives
  1. Work with the ECIDA to create a policy requiring senior housing and other public spaces to meet universal design standards
  2. Create a Senior Transportation Council
  3. Perform a crowdsourced walk audit of all Erie County roadways in commercial or densely populated residential areas
  4. Develop and distribute a Senior Transportation Connector Card that lets older adults use numerous modes of transportation

Goal 3: Older Adults will be able to maintain financial security throughout their lives.

If older adults do not have adequate resources, they are unable to prioritize their health and well-being. Many rely primarily on social security for the bulk of their income, and many older adults, unlike most younger citizens, are unable to rejoin the workforce to increase their income. Many older adults lack financial literacy skills and are unable to navigate the supportive services available to them.

Potential Community Strategies and Initiatives
  1. Create a Senior Homeshare matching program where older adults can share a home to split expenses and provide companionship
  2. Expand the Representative Payee program to provide benefit payment management for beneficiaries who are incapable of managing their Social Security payments
  3. Provide Medicare and Medicaid 101 training programs