Jennifer Dixon listens to presentations during the AARP Age Friendly Community kickoff event in June at the Southfield Pavilion.

Jennifer Dixon listens to presentations during the AARP Age Friendly Community kickoff event in June at the Southfield Pavilion.

File photo by Donna Agusti


Council to host second community conversation on senior needs

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published February 7, 2018

 Residents were asked to visualize their suggestions on how to make Southfield more age-friendly via sticky notes on a poster board.

Residents were asked to visualize their suggestions on how to make Southfield more age-friendly via sticky notes on a poster board.

File photo by Donna Agusti

SOUTHFIELD — Officials from the city’s Council on Senior Adults are again seeking the opinions of Southfield residents on the needs of the senior community. 

The Council on Senior Adults will host a community conversation on senior living 5-7 p.m. March 1 at the Southfield Pavilion, 26000 Evergreen Road, as the next step toward becoming an Age Friendly Community. The first community conversation was held Sept. 28.

Last 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 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 previously that the events allow members of each of the eight groups to discuss how Southfield is doing in their particular focus area. 

Around 140 people attended the first community conversation, and officials are hoping for a similar turnout this time around. 

Human Services Office Coordinator Rhonda Terry said the format of the community conversation will be similar to that of the last one. 

“They’re going to break into groups, and each group will discuss one of the eight domains. They’ll have a leader who will chair each group, and each person will fill out a questionnaire, and the leader of each domain will take those back to the COSA board, who will do an evaluation and set up the next community conversation.”

Terry said the questionnaire is referred to as an “aspirations worksheet.”

“If the domain is housing, the question might be, ‘What do you want to see in your community involving housing? What challenges do we face in aspirations for the housing, and what needs to change in order to get this type of housing in Southfield?’” Terry said. 

A presentation on COSA’s recent efforts was given by Schrock at the Jan. 22 City Council meeting. 

“After the completion of the community conversations, that information, along with data from the listening posts and surveys, will be reviewed by the work groups and the appropriate city boards, commissions and staff,” Schrock said at the meeting. “The next step will be to incorporate all that input into a plan for the city.”

Throughout the years, Schrock said, COSA has evolved with the changing needs of the senior community. 

“We have a major project underway, and we will need hardworking and committed members,” she said. “COSA meetings are very different than they were just two years ago. We are focused and goal-oriented.”

Terry said officials are planning on having the conversations in places other than the Southfield Pavilion to include the entire city. 

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