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October 27, 2021

9/17/2021 1:10:00 PM
Movement to create liveable communities for seniors heats up

There are eight aspects to creating a quality community.  These domains of livability as they are known, have been giving local leader something to think about, as area senior living activists have been trying to enlist officials in an assessment process of what their communities have to offer to aging residents.

The domains are easier to understand and implement than one might think— and available as part of a toolkit in an AARP program.  Think of it as a framework supporting a community where senior citizen want to live and age in place.
The Lindstrom and Wyoming city councils were invited recently to take part.

Leilani Freeman, a local volunteer in the Chisago Age Well Coalition, and Natalie Matthewson, Central MN Council on Aging, spoke with the Lindstrom City Council August 18 to see if the city is interested in starting a community assessment.
Chisago Age Well Coalition has been recognized with an achievement award from the National Association of Area Agency on Aging.  In 2020 the coalition put together community events, which in time of covid took place on the Internet, and an age well expo.  The group can line-up speakers who will do informative talks about local resources and help build relationships and awareness of senior programs and services.

Freeman and  Matthewson, explained at the council meeting how seniors like to see safe sidewalks that are in good shape, but mothers with baby strollers and children on small bikes benefit from walkability as well.  

Parks and inviting outdoor spaces are attractive to seniors, but they are enjoyed by all ages. 

Social programs and recreation programs for gathering with friends are among the eight domains not just for senior citizens.  There is no such thing as us versus them when it comes to enhancing senior domains of liveability.

Freeman is active with 30 or so others who volunteer in the coalition. They are hoping area cities will be taking a look at their domains of livability with the goal of  being age-friendly.  

The City of Wyoming is a little ahead of the curve, having already connected with AARP and identifying ways of pulling it all together. The Wyoming Parks & Trails Master Plan will have a senior targeted component, City Administrator Robb Linwood explains.  Events in the city are being given a second look for how senior citizens can be included and feel involved.

The city is also getting outside advice from a university grad student  program on the generationality of the new memorial park.

“We are just getting started,” Linwood reports.

Lindstrom council members August 19 responded that they need time for mulling it over.

To learn more
The website aarp.org has videos and print materials and hosts community challenge grants in support of an age friendly effort.  Or ask about having a community connector give a presentation.  A final report on your community’s efforts will be looked over by AARP and best practices and issue resolutions are shared.

There is a virtual workshop Wednesday Sept. 22 and Thursday Sept. 23 at the aarp.org site.

Anyone who wants to be involved and join a subcommittee or be part of a coalition event team/Board member can send a message to the Chisago Age Well Facebook page or see www.chisagoagewell.org

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