Age Friendly Erie County (AFEC) is a part of the WHO/AARP Network of Age Friendly Communities. AARP facilitated the process to help Erie County sign-on to make the commitment to become a more age-friendly community. Joining the Network of Age Friendly Communities means that collaborators in Erie County will works together over five years to better understand the needs of our community, develop an action plan to address some of those needs, and create a sustainable vision for Erie County to maintain age-friendly priorities into the future. Below are some of the highlights of the process for Age Friendly Erie County.
Currently, AFEC efforts are focused on analyzing data collected during the various needs assessment approaches. The findings from this needs assessment will be shared with AFEC stakeholders to help inform service priorities and identify areas for improvement. The creation of an AFEC Action Plan will be based on priorities determined by the community.
2014 Joining AARP's Network of Age-Friendly Communities
In September 2014, AARP recognized Erie County’s commitment to becoming an “Age-Friendly Community”, part of a nationwide initiative focused on community improvements that benefit older adults and all generations of residents. Joining AARP’s Network of Age Friendly Communities will provide Erie County with a framework to establish new community partnership, pursue future funding opportunities, and share information and best practices with other communities that have made similar commitments to creating more age-friendly spaces for their residents.
2015 Needs Assessment Workshop
Since enrolling in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, Erie County is developing an action plan to identify issues influencing the health and quality of life of older adults and residents of all ages. Representatives from over 90 local organizations participated in the Age Friendly Erie County Needs Assessment Workshop in February 2015 to kick off planning efforts.
2016 A County-Wide Community Assessment
To begin planning efforts for AFEC, Erie County conducted a baseline assessment of the age-friendliness of Erie County. In addition to gathering citizen input, we approached the assessment phase as an opportunity to educate the community about AFEC domain areas and establish opportunities for residents and stakeholders to get involved.
2017 University at Buffalo Master's in Urban Planning Studio
Urban and Regional Planning and Professor Bumjoon Kang joined the AFEC Network and worked with Molly Ranahan, research analyst at Erie County Senior Services and PhD Candidate in UB’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning, to identify a role for students to contribute to the development of an AFEC Action Plan through hosting a Master’s studio in Urban Planning with AFEC as the client. The nine students enrolled in the studio will review and provide in depth analysis of the needs assessment data, participate in AFEC planning and programming, and consult with community partners to identify local priorities implementation recommendations across the 10 domain areas.
2017 Community Conversations
AFEC held civic engagement events in partnership with six organizations that work with in the county as a mechanism to engage older adults with limited access to the Internet and/or mainstream aging resources to supplement survey findings. This assessment strategy enabled AFEC to learn about aging experiences in diverse and underserved communities, such as immigrant and refugees and rural municipalities. Community discussions were planned with funding from the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York.