I graduated from the University of Utah College of Nursing with a Master of Science in gerontology. It was interdisciplinary with the College of City and Metropolitan Planning to expand my knowledge in order to become an Environmental Gerontologist, examing spatial relationships with respect to the interdependency among residents and their social settings. Recently my work with Aging & Adult Services included a being a recipient for a national grant to implement a new idea, “Transit Together Grocery Project,” teaching older adults to take public transportation to the grocery, improving their access to nutritional food. This project forms partnerships with local housing communities and it expands the residents’ physical and social environment, permitting one to increase their functional ability and help develop an age-friendly environment. Throughout my twelve-year tenure with the Salt Lake County Aging & Adult Services’ Rides for Wellness Program, I have assisted several thousand older adults by providing them with rides to their essential medical appointments and to the grocery store. Currently I am the president for Utah Aging Alliance, UAA. Our volunteer board and UAA community strive to positively impact the lives of many older adults through the exchange of knowledgeable innovative resources of our members, focusing on aging solutions and issues.
Towards Age-Friendly Sustainable Communities: Aging in Place with Affordable Government Housing
The purpose of this research is to examine the function of age-friendly sustainable communities as a setting for aging in place, within the model of affordable government housing. The study included three Salt Lake County housing communities: Kelly Benson (KB), Hi-Rise Senior Housing (HRSH), and Wasatch Commons (WC), which are in the United States within the western state of Utah. KB is a government public housing complex for previously chronic homeless older adults. Both communities have a majority of residents who qualify as low income. WC is a private cohousing community of diverse residential occupancy with respect to age segregation and soci-economics. The study compares and contrasts three housing communities, assessing them through three common themes: socialization, safety, and domestic economics. Analysis of qualitative observational data suggests that the three themes, when taken together, serve to develop social capital. More importantly, depending on the amount or balance of each theme, will determine the levels of social capital that will increase an older adult’s sustainability to age in place. Results of this study can be used to implement a housing model, Corporation for Supportive Housing that has provably achieved self-sufficiency for Kelly Benson’s older adult residents because of their high levels of social capital and it permitted them to age at home. Current research is adding the dimension of well-being to the three themes in order to factor in the psychological benefits from social activity.
The participants will be able to understand the importance of social capital in order to form age-friendly sustainable community. The participants will discover three themes that are needed to develop social capital and learn how to achieve high levels of social capital in order to implement it within a community to age in place.