“Living in an Age-Friendly Marin”—it means a place where all of us can live long and healthy lives by being active and engaged, respected and included in our communities, enjoying the great open spaces, and having access to the basics in health and social supports. Our Board of Supervisors has identified these basic supports for Marin’s senior population as a priority and called for a collective, community-wide action to address current and future issues affecting older adults, their families and caregivers.
This collaborative endeavor, known as the Aging Action Initiative, is facilitated by Aging and Adult Services and brings together healthcare and social services organizations, food providers, research institutions, foundations, and the faith community, among others, to take action in the near term and to form a stronger aging services network for the years ahead.
In the fall of 2014, leaders, commissioners and advocates from over fifty organizations began working on some of the most pressing issues facing older adults. Previous studies, reports and community input had noted some areas of concern being 1) older adult mental health and well-being; 2) dementia; 3) food security and access to nutrition; 4) care and system coordination, including information and assistance; and 5) economic disparity of those who are ineligible for government services but lack sufficient resources to meet needs independently.
The Initiative capitalizes on the interaction and collaboration of multiple aging services organizations and allows for team members to bring their resources to the effort in a variety of roles whether it is lead champion, active participant, content advisor or funder. Work groups are currently under way in the areas of Mental Health, Dementia, Nutrition, and Care Coordination/Information and Assistance, with a fifth group to form later in the year to address economic disparity. Over the next year, members of the workgroups have committed themselves to launching and/or completing 1-3 action items in each of the areas.
For instance, a major action area will be the development of a comprehensive, well-coordinated network of Information and Assistance (I & A) providers. This network of I & A providers will actively promote awareness of available services and aid members of the public in finding the right resource, no matter where they first make the call.
We are fortunate to live in a county where so many organizations and individuals are aligning to make Marin an age-friendly, livable community for all. Through short term action and ongoing partnerships, the Aging Action Initiative will result in more effective coordination among existing programs, improved access to current services and creation of new services, identification of new funding resources, and advocacy for policies that better support the livelihood of older adults.