As the Aging with Dignity and Independence Initiative comes to a close, community entities are taking steps to create new realities for Sarasota’s aging population.
The Sarasota Public Library is using themes from a year-long study by The Patterson Foundation’s partner SCOPE (Sarasota Openly Plans for Excellence) and USF Sarasota-Manatee to inform staff members and think about how the research can be applied in relation to programs, policies and procedures.
The research being used is the result of a quantitative study conducted by SCOPE and USF Sarasota-Manatee to learn more about the issues facing Sarasota County’s aging population, the statistically oldest large county in the country. SCOPE and USF-Manatee conducted focus groups and gathered information from surveys of more than 200 community members.
After gathering information, SCOPE shared the emerging themes with the community by hosting a series of workshops and one-on-one sessions with local entities and community leaders. The Patterson Foundation also provided communications consulting to help build SCOPE’s social media capacity and better share the results of the research with the community at-large.
The lessons and takeaways from Aging with Dignity and Independence can serve as a model for communities nationally and globally, both in the results and through the process. Other communities with aging populations may benefit from the themes of SCOPE’s study to implement senior friendly innovations to encourage aging with dignity and independence.
The legacy of the Aging of Dignity and Independence Initiative will be to empower new realities in our community and beyond.