A Erie County-Wide Community Assessment
From August through December of 2016, Erie County Senior Services launched data collection. Residents provided feedback through three mechanisms: (1) A detailed “long-form” online survey requiring approximately 30 minutes to complete, (2) an abbreviated “short-form” online survey requiring approximately 10 minutes to complete, and (3) a “short-from” paper questionnaire for use during in-person outreach.
All three versions of the survey included a core group of questions that asked residents to assess the over-all “age-friendliness” of the county and issues related to the ten AFEC domain areas, share information about preferences about communication methods and technology, and rate their satisfaction of personal access to local information.
We utilized multiple strategies to obtain input from county residents. We promoted the survey on our website and social media platforms and also by email to a departmental listserv of RSVP volunteers. Our community partners helped to “spread the word” by posting flyers, sending information via email and through monthly newsletters, and using social media postings
Staff members from Erie County Senior Services and from a number of our community partners collected feedback in person using hard-copy versions of the survey. This strategy enabled us to gather input from residents living in different municipalities throughout the county. It also helped us to reach residents who may not access the online survey.
In total, we held over 30 events at senior centers and libraries, health fairs, and community activities. Conducting in-person outreach was critical to assessment efforts because allowed us to have face-to-face conversations with residents and build new relationships with a number of local groups and organizations.
In total, we collected feedback from well over 1,100 older adult residents of Erie County. In addition, the project engaged local leaders, community groups, organizations and service providers, and stakeholders. A list of groups and organizations that supported assessment efforts are included to the left. Their assistance was critical to the success of this phase.
University at Buffalo, Masters in Urban Planning Studio
Nine students in a Master's Level Urban Planning Studio at the University at Buffalo, under the mentorship of Professor Bumjoon Kang, created an Age Friendly Index and synthesized AFEC and Erie County data to create a comprehensive report of analyses and recommendations for possible future directions in the AFEC initiative. Photos from their community presentation and links to the presentation and final report are below.