Release Date: November 12,2020
City Partners Unveil Age-Friendly Akron Needs Assessment
Needs Assessment data presented is part of the City’s formal five-year process to make Akron more livable and age-friendly
Akron, Ohio, November 12, 2020 – Today, the City of Akron Commission on Aging unveiled the Age-Friendly Akron Needs Assessment findings. This assessment is the culmination of a year’s worth of data collection and analysis completed by Dr. Harvey Sterns, chairperson of the Commission and co-chair of Age-Friendly Akron and co-chair Susan Sigmon, Senior Vice President of Long-term Services and Supports with Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities. These assessment results will guide the next steps of Age-Friendly Akron, which focuses on quality of life issues such as housing, public spaces, transportation, community engagement, walkability, complete street design, public health and others that affect the day to day life of Akron’s seniors.
“The Age-Friendly Akron Needs Assessment results tell us that older adults in Akron overwhelmingly want to stay in our community as they age,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said. “Our older adult community is looking for opportunities to continue to remain engaged and active; and this data will help us better serve their needs as we develop policies around recreation, infrastructure, public space, safety, housing, health and more. I want to thank the entire Age-Friendly Akron committee for this important work toward discovering and meeting the needs of older adults in Akron.”
The Needs Assessment report was able to identify key opportunities to advance Akron as an Age-Friendly community, such as gaps in needed services for older adults, better insight on desired services and programs, and the importance of providing easily accessible information when it is needed most. Results showed that currently, only a relatively small number of individuals were accessing the most helpful and comprehensive websites and services. While respondents were generally satisfied with the information and services they were aware of, the report revealed a key opportunity for agencies and organizations to better communicate proactively about available services and resources, so citizens have familiarity even before those resources are needed.
“Dr. Sterns and his research partners have done an amazing job in completing this needs assessment under challenging times,” said Gary Cook, President and CEO of Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities. “Dr. Sterns longstanding involvement in geriatric research and policy in the City of Akron as well as the expertise of the Mayor’s Commission on Aging has created an assessment that provides insights into older Akronites’ thoughts and plans, and will help those of us in aging services to better assist individuals to age well in the community.”
Holly Holtzen, State Director of AARP Ohio added “AARP Ohio congratulates Age-Friendly Akron on this important milestone and vital step in ensuring that an age-friendly community initiative will make the community a better place for residents to thrive at every age and every life stage. The AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities continues to expand in Ohio (and we will continue to encourage older residents to take an active role and have their voices heard, just as the Akron community and residents have done."
Next steps in the process include convening community leaders that make up the program advisory committee to develop work plans around the program’s eight domains: transportation, housing, social participation, health services and community supports, respect and inclusion, communication and information, outdoor spaces and buildings, and civic participation and employment.
More information including a link to the full report and a recording of the event can be found at the Age Friendly Akron Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AgeFriendlyAkron or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfxWHKYZ2NM&feature=youtu.be.