COSA to host community conversation on senior living

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published September 20, 2017

SOUTHFIELD — In the next step toward becoming an Age Friendly Community, the Southfield Council on Senior Adults will host a community conversation on senior living 6-8 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Southfield Pavilion, 26000 Evergreen Road.

In June, the city, along with officials from AARP, hosted a kickoff event to launch a five-year project to become an AARP-designated Age Friendly Community, making Southfield a welcoming place for seniors.

COSA is a city-led organization whose goal is to present recommendations and information to the mayor and the City Council based on studies and investigations to help the city address the needs, concerns and problems of senior adults living in the Southfield community.

The group also works closely with city departments and local agencies that serve the senior community, and it monitors state and federal legislation, and serves as an educational link to services and resources, officials said.

Karen Schrock, chair of COSA, said previously that the city has applied to be designated by AARP as an Age Friendly Community and is in the first stages of obtaining the certification.

With 40 percent of city residents over the age of 50, the time to act is now, officials said. The entire process will take around five years, according to officials.

At the kickoff event, AARP officials discussed the eight domains that designate a community as age friendly. The domains are identified as outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation; housing; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; communication and information; community support; and health services.

Attendees of the June event were split up into eight groups — one for each domain — for roundtable discussions and to provide input on how Southfield can improve that particular domain.

Schrock said the coming event will allow members of each of the eight groups to discuss how Southfield is doing in their particular focus area.

“This is obviously a follow-up to the kickoff event, and as part of the process of moving toward the designation to Age Friendly, you have to do a community assessment,” Schrock said. “Where in those eight domain areas do you need to improve on and where are you doing pretty well? This is our first attempt at engagement and the actual process of designation.”

Each group will be tasked with coming up with a unique plan of action, Schrock said.

“The transportation group, for example, will meet and begin assessing the transportation needs in the city of Southfield. They’ll meet on their own, work on their own, and come up with a more thorough assessment and begin working on the actual plan,” she said. “This process is intended to develop a plan we will then implement as part of the overall designation process for an Age Friendly Community.”

Rhonda Terry, office coordinator for Southfield Human Services, said the event is a great way for Southfield residents to get their opinions heard.

“The groups can think of what is lacking in Southfield, what we have now and how we can improve what we have,” Terry said. “We want people to be able to age in Southfield and move to Southfield and keep our population growing.”

Schrock said that around 30 people have volunteered to be in the workgroups so far, but the city is always looking for more volunteers.

“At this point we’re looking for anyone who wants to share an opinion without signing up for a group. Come and participate throughout the process —  just the input alone would be helpful for the work group,” Schrock said.

Light refreshments will be served at the event, and registration is preferred, Terry said.

To register, call Rhonda Terry at (248) 796-4540 or email rterry@cityofsouthfield.com.