Archive For April 25, 2016

Community Support and Health Services

Sustain and enhance investment in affordable, accessible, and holistic care that will build a vibrant and productive senior community

  • Build awareness of public, private and nonprofit low- or no-cost senior health services availability in citywide promotional materials
  • Create focus groups of city and community representatives with the charge of developing a strategic plan to integrate aging, mental health and wellness programs
  • Develop health outreach programs and community care clinics, including mobile clinics and mobile food vans, in neighborhoods with dense and growing populations of older adults
  • Expand opportunities for affordable and accessible health care services not covered by Medicare, e.g., dental, hearing and vision

 

Ensure access to proper support services, community resources and information for successful aging environment

  • Expand community outreach and public awareness around caregiver support and in-home support programs, including respite care, palliative care and other home-based supportive services
  • Support a robust awareness and education campaign focused on SNAP outreach and the benefit of investing in better food choices for better health outcomes
  • Provide broad access to healthy culturally appropriate foods, local farmers markets, co-ops, grocery stores, community gardens, and corner stores in neighborhoods
  • Expand culturally responsive family caregiving programs and resources including dementia care, community respite care and home-based supportive services

 

Provide information, education and training to ensure the safety, wellness and readiness of seniors in emergency situations

  • Provide formalized emergency preparedness training that includes promotion of existing registries to seniors and caregivers at senior community centers, congregate sites, and any other venue deemed appropriate
  • Ensure emergency responders are trained in age-friendly best practices to be prepared to respond to the needs of this population during emergency events
  • Provide emergency response, preparedness strategies on the CoA website specific to the needs of the senior population
  • Add emergency preparedness script with guidance for 311 operators

 

Prevent financial exploitation, neglect, and the physical, sexual and emotional abuse of seniors

  • Strengthen elder abuse detection by providing education to law enforcement and other first responders
  • Provide detection, prevention and reporting strategies on the COA website specific to the needs of the senior population
  • Create partnerships to provide educational materials related to identifying and reporting senior financial exploitation targeting banking and financial institutions
  • Add elder abuse, neglect, and fraud script with guidance for 311 operators

 

What do you think? Feel free to share your comments and suggestions.

Communication and Information

Create a clearinghouse for information about matters related to older adults

  • Include information about city and state services, community organizations and other resources on all appropriate City communication channels

 

Increase awareness about senior issues and perspectives

  • Broadcast Austin’s Commission on Seniors meetings at convenient times for older viewers
  • Urge City communications staff to include an “age-friendly” perspective in all communications materials and age-inclusive language, messaging and visuals in materials intended for older adult audiences
  • Provide multi-cultural information and resources, recognizing the diversity of Austin’s senior population

 

Promote technologies that help older adults connect to their community, friends and family

  • Expand technology training at City of Austin facilities
  • Encourage education through public-private partnerships
  • Offer learning opportunities for those without access to technology
  • Use all appropriate City communication channels to promote training opportunities

 

What do you think? Feel free to share your comments and suggestions.

Civic Participation and Employment

Increase employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for older persons

  • Improve awareness and coordination of employment services
  • Promote home-based, part-time and job-sharing employment opportunities
  • Distribute brochures on key topics like age discrimination in the workplace, and working while receiving Social Security benefits
  • Encourage local businesses to hire older persons

 

Increase volunteerism and civic participation among persons age 55+

  • Develop a City of Austin internship or fellowship program for people 55+
  • Publicize volunteer opportunities as well as opportunities for civic engagement

 

What do you think? Feel free to share your comments and suggestions.

Respect and Social Inclusion

Expand programs that engage and empower older adults

  • Expand activities, services and programs likely to attract older adults (develop survey to determine priorities)
  • Promote age-friendly customer service practices in City departments
  • Support AustinUP in developing age-friendly business best practices

 

Create intergenerational opportunities for seniors

  • Invest in intergenerational education partnerships with colleges, schools, universities, libraries and senior programs
  • Ensure all City recreation centers provide programs and activities for seniors that are intergenerational and provide dynamic volunteer and co-learning opportunities

 

Expand access to services and participation by older adults in diverse communities

  • Recommend to Commission on Seniors to work with other commissions and boards representing diverse communities
  • Continue Commission on Seniors participation on the Joint Inclusion Committee, which advises City Council on diversity and inclusion issues
  • Ensure services and programs targeted to seniors respect racial, ethnic and cultural diversity and are welcoming and inclusive
  • Advocate that all City programs, services and strategic plans address the needs of seniors

 

What do you think? Feel free to share your comments and suggestions.

Social Participation

Strengthen and develop recreation, leisure and educational activities involving and targeting older adults.

  • Strengthen and develop local network of neighborhood programs for senior assistance

 

Create a City interagency committee to optimize opportunities for senior engagement.

  • Develop an asset map to identify existing and new opportunities for senior social engagement at public libraries, PARD facilities, HHS facilities and schools
  • Identify opportunities for co-located services
  • Develop multigenerational programming at public facilities

 

What do you think? Feel free to share your comments and suggestions.

Housing

Expand and promote the development of diverse housing options that are affordable for seniors of different income levels

  • Encourage the development of new and innovative models of affordable housing (multigenerational, co-housing/cooperative housing)
  • Increase and prioritize funding for affordable housing for seniors (housing bonds, housing trust fund)
  • Expedite the City’s permitting process and promote flexible zoning
  • Increase outreach and community awareness about diverse housing options
  • Increase access to rent and utility assistance programs to keep seniors in their homes

 

Support and expand affordable housing options for seniors

  • Fund improvements and renovations of public housing for low-income seniors
  • Replicate successful models of mixed income senior housing communities and encourage redevelopment
  • Address the impact of increasing property taxes

 

Expand assistance for affordable home repair, maintenance and modification for seniors of all income levels

  • Expand support for the Austin Housing Repair Coalition
  • Increase home access for seniors through design modification that improves safety and “visitability”
  • Improve access to energy efficiency and weatherization programs
  • Expand the Village concept to engage volunteers and neighbors to help with simple, preventative maintenance

 

What do you think? Feel free to share your comments and suggestions.

Transportation

Ensure all modes of transportation are safe, affordable and accessible for residents of all ages and abilities, particularly older adults

  • Expedite repair, maintenance and construction of sidewalks, curb cuts and street lighting
  • Remove vegetation adjacent to sidewalks to increase pedestrian infrastructure and safety
  • Increase seating options, including covered seating and close-by parking at public transit stops
  • Evaluate and install pedestrian-friendly crossing signals
  • Provide sidewalk infrastructure in places frequented by older adults
  • Improve street lighting
  • Improve visibility of crosswalks for older adults whether walking or driving
  • Replace missing street signs/traffic signs with easily readable, well-lit signage and address access and functional needs

 

Provide residents with the information and tools they need to make informed travel choices

  • Create integrated system for scheduling transportation options
  • Create a centralized clearinghouse for seamless information for the public

 

Create an ongoing dialogue and innovative transportation options and expand models for the future

  • Identify gaps in existing transportation services
  • Obtain additional funding to support innovative opportunities and models for transportation and expand existing options
  • Provide public transportation discounts to older adults
  • Ensure ride-sharing options for older adults using different types of transportation like city vans, neighborhood vehicles, and nonprofit transportation providers
  • Evaluate transportation needs and options in new home developments and neighborhood planning

 

What do you think? Feel free to share your comments and suggestions.

Outdoor Spaces and Buildings

Increase access to and utilization of parks, open spaces and public buildings

  • Ensure all residents have access to parks and open spaces within a half-mile of every home
  • Ensure all residents have access to recreation facilities within a mile of every home
  • Increase the number of parks and public spaces that are equipped with functional seating at frequent intervals, drinking fountains, shaded resting areas, walkways suitable for wheelchairs/walkers and accessible public restrooms
  • Convert pre-existing parking spaces into parking spaces reserved for persons with disabled parking permits in compliance with ADA
  • Provide multigenerational programs such as yoga, Tai Chi, art in the park, etc. in neighborhood parks

 

What do you think? Feel free to share your comments and suggestions.

We’re making Austin friendlier for people of all ages.

The City of Austin Commission on Seniors, AARP, AustinUP and other nonprofit organizations worked with Austin leaders to create an Age-Friendly Austin Action Plan to address eight areas that influence the health and quality of life of all Austinites: Outdoor Spaces and Buildings, Transportation, Housing, Social Participation, Respect and Social Inclusion, Civic Participation and Employment, Communication and Information, and Community Support and Health Services.

The Austin City Council, on November 3, 2016, voted to adopt the Age-friendly Austin Action Plan and actively work toward Austin becoming more age-friendly in support of our city’s current and future older adults. The community working group also identified key areas of overlap with the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan and will work with the City Council and Imagine Austin staff members toward implementation.

The City of Austin is a member of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, which works to improve livability across the country.

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