The purpose of this symposium is to discuss the challenges that local communities have experienced in making their communities more age friendly. The goal of WHO’s Age Friendly Initiatives (AFI) is to promote active aging which emphasizes opportunities for health, participation and security to enhance quality of life as we become older. It allows full participation in social, economic, cultural, spiritual and civic affairs. Because each community or country faces unique challenges, each community has different priorities of AFI aspects and it has faced different challenges in assessing their progress and outcomes. Addressing such challenge at the global level, this symposium funded by the Global Research Network of National Research Foundation of Korea will focus on similar challenges experienced in local American and Korean communities.
This symposium consists of four presentations. The first presentation will provide an overview of three different approaches of AFI based on the team’s experience working with existing age friendly communities. The second presentation will highlight the leadership of local senior advocacy group to become a member of WHO Age-Friendly Community Network and to address the priorities of its community needs in a small town. The third presentation will argue the challenges of bottom-up approach to initiate province-wide age friendly projects and challenges measuring long-term health impacts of AFI and different priorities identified from older adults and service providers based on Jeju age friendly projects. The last presentation will examine measurement issues addressing the unique cultural aspects in the Korean context. Finally, the chair of symposium will discuss policy implications for policy makers and reflection on AFI for active aging.
Towards Age Friendly Communities: Organizational Approaches of Three American Communities
Creating a livable community is an organic process, which can vary from place to place. In this presentation, three different organizational approaches to establishing livable community initiatives in rural Virginia, USA will be introduced, compared, contrasted, and discussed. Each model is an example of a successful livable community initiative that takes a distinctive collaborative approach to providing a better quality of life through new and reimagined services, programs, and partnerships. The focus of the three models presented include an interagency approach, a non-profit model, and a citizen advocacy group – none of which originated in local or regional government. Discussion will include how each model evolved and how community needs, governance, and resources influenced the approaches taken and why their approach was chosen over approaches used in other regions. Highlights of activities in each community (past and present) will be presented and next steps towards seeking age friendly community certification will be addressed.
Senior Advocacy Committee in Making Grayson More Age Friendly
Sandy Troth, Eunju Hwang, & Nancy Brossoie
Grayson county, Virginia, began addressing the rapid aging of the county in 2016. The county board of supervisors formed the Senior Advocacy Committee (SAC) comprised of 3-5 volunteer citizens, a Supervisor and a Planning Commissioner. Since 2016, the SAC has held public monthly meetings to discuss the needs and priorities of community. The committee also conducted a year long needs assessment by opening dialogues with service providers both public and private, for profit and non-profit and surveying senior citizens. As a result, partnerships with various local organizations have made in Grayson and the SAC led being a member of WHO’s Age-Friendly Community Network (AFCN). Once Grayson county became a member of AFCN which was certified in July 2017, the county proposed a comprehensive 5-year plan. In the plan, the following age friendly aspects are identified as priorities: 1) access to primary healthcare, dentistry and behavioral health 2) transportation 3) affordable housing 4) strategies for improving nutrition education. In the presentation, the strategies and challenges that the SAC experienced will be shared.
Age Friendly Jeju: Who Sets the Priorities?
Seung-Hahn Koh and Eunju Hwang
Jeju province in South Korea has conducted research in the past four years and finally become a member of WHO’s Age-Friendly Community Network (AFCN) in August 2017. Now, the province has province wide age friendly projects and has started identifying priorities. One of key areas is to refine welfare policies covering housing with services and design for all. To articulate this, a team conducted a survey (N=205) and conducted in-depth interviews for older adults 65 plus and service providers. The results show that different priorities are identified by older adults and service providers. Although older adults identify more assistance on rental fee assistance is important, the service providers identify structural issues of senior advocacy groups and a lack of senior housing as urgent priorities. Both the representatives of older adults’ group and service providers agree to construct a new living complex with services available for older adults in a long term, there is a tension making a decision and short term impacts of age friendly domains. The results of study suggests more monitoring and implementation strategies to assess long term health impacts for active living in age friendly communities.
Measurement Tools: In Working with Age Friendly Korean Communities
Kimin Song & Aeson Om
This presentation addresses the process developing a survey questionnaire to measure
age-friendliness in the Korean context. More Korean communities consider adopting WHO’s Age Friendly Community Initiative; however, there is a lack of measurement tools. WHO’s checklist covers a broad range of items, but it does not reflect a specific country’s cultural values, climates and topography. In this presentation, we address the process and challenges in developing Korean specific checklist. We had two phases. In the first phase, we used the existing WHO checklist and developed ‘core’ items. Then, in the second phase, we developed Korean specific ‘supplementary’ items. We conducted pilot tests and found out that reliability score of housing domain was the lowest and modified housing related items and added more culturally appropriate intergenerational items in our checklist.