Aging with Dignity and Independence FAQs
- How did this initiative honor the Patterson legacy?
Dorothy Clarke Patterson endured rheumatoid arthritis and dementia – yet she aged with dignity and independence. This was possible because of a strong support system. For Mrs. Patterson, living with dignity and independence was realized by being able to make decisions for herself and age in her own home.
- What were the objectives of the Aging with Dignity and Independence initiative?
2. Dignity and independence are important concepts for all people. Living with dignity and independence is impacted by the broader network in which people live. This network includes formal support systems (healthcare providers, home maintenance, grocery, legal, etc.) and informal such as friends, neighbors, social groups and support systems.
The Aging with Dignity and Independence Initiative focused on understanding the local lived-experience of older adults to enhance aging with dignity and independence within the context of a community and social relationships.
- What exactly do you mean by ‘aging with dignity and independence’?
The meanings are inherently subjective. There are multiple interpretations of the term ‘dignity’ and the concepts of dignity and independence are often intertwined. Research suggests that the concept of dignity pertains to the domains of identity (self-respect, esteem, trust), human rights (equality, choice) and autonomy, of which independence is a part.
SCOPE, in partnership with the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, conducted focus groups and collected survey responses in order to better understand how people experience these concepts. SCOPE also facilitated community forums in order to learn the perceptions and observations of individuals who interact with older adults.
- Who were the partners in this initiative?
The partners were The Patterson Foundation, SCOPE and USF Sarasota-Manatee. SCOPE and USF Sarasota-Manatee conducted the research, combining the art of SCOPE’s civic engagement with the rigors of the university’s scientific approach. A community Advisory Committee of key community providers, volunteers, experts and stakeholders in aging provided direction during the first year of research, discovery and analysis.
- Why did The Patterson Foundation partner with SCOPE?
Since 2001, SCOPE has demonstrated the value of engaging the broader community through a variety of community initiatives. SCOPE’s community impact reflects the power of active citizens working together to build a thriving community. Positive change has resulted in quality of life issues in the environment, senior transportation, diversity training by and for youth, and roadway efficiency.
SCOPE’s creative abilities to convene citizens and engage the Sarasota community provided greater understanding of the dimensions of aging and honored the wisdom of the local-lived experience to age with dignity and independence.
- What is the connection between this initiative and the Institute for the Ages?
They are separate. The Aging with Dignity and Independence research is a source of local qualitative data for the Institute for the Ages. The recently formed Institute for the Ages is positioned to be the national think-tank and innovation center that will work with national businesses, research organizations and the public sector to generate new products, services and policies for the second half of life.
- Was the work local, national or international in focus?
Though uniquely focused on our own Sarasota County community, implications of the project might be relevant to other communities throughout the United States that are also searching to improve the lives of their burgeoning populations of older adults.
The project’s unique community-based approach provides an example of “processes” for other cities and townships that can be replicated throughout the nation.