Age-friendly ideas abound in Juneau

In May, the Juneau AARP Community Action Team (CAT) and the Juneau Commission on Aging (JCOA) joined forces to celebrate National Older Americans Month with three listening sessions to gather information for Age-Friendly Juneau.

Earlier this spring Juneau became the second Alaska Age-Friendly community, joining the AARP Age-Friendly Network shortly after Anchorage. Co-chairs of Age-Friendly Juneau, Dr. Emily Kane (cChair of the Juneau Commission on Aging) and Linda Kruger (lLead for the AARP Juneau Community Action TeamAT), announced the kick-off of Age-Friendly Juneau and the listening sessions on KTOO Radio’s Juneau Afternoon program. The listening sessions were held on consecutive Tuesdays at the three local libraries.

After a short introduction about the AARP Age-Friendly Network, the Juneau Community TeamAT and Juneau Commission on Agingneau COA, there were lively discussions of what could help Juneau become more aAge-fFriendly. During the listening sessions, eight flip charts representing each of the Age-Friendly domains of livability were posted around the room. There were flip charts for Outdoor Spaces and Buildings, Transportation, Housing, Social Participation, Respect and Social Inclusion, Work and Civic Engagement, Communication and Information, and Community and Health Services. A ninth chart welcomed comments that didn’t fit any of the eight categories or applied to more than one. Participants wrote comments and suggestions on post-it notes and posted them on the appropriate flip chart pages. Several participants completed a detailed questionnaire providing targeted suggestions for improving Juneau for seniors.

In addition to JCOA and action teamCAT members (who had lots of ideas)!) around 25twenty-five members of the public participated in the sessions. Several people who could not attend in person submitted comments by email.

Comments and suggestions from the listening sessions, completed questionnaires — (hard copies and online — ), and other comments that are received will be compiled into a report and provide the background for a five-year plan for moving Age-Friendly Juneau forward. Some of the suggestions received so far include: a dedicated senior center for presentations, information (with a navigator), social events and games, and senior exercise classes; transportation to senior events and congregate meals and provision of transportation services out past the ferry terminal; an affordable, pedestrian friendly, small-scale co-housing village for seniors; City and Borough of JuneauBJ support for home modifications to help seniors stay in their homes; senior specific exercise classes; more in-person social activities and programs for seniors; an Age-Friendly Day; hHospice and hHomecare services; and additional affordable and accessible senior apartments.

To be more inclusive, the Age-Friendly Juneau co-chairs are reaching out to groups in the community who may not have participated in the listening sessions. If you have a group who would be interested in learning more, or meeting with the planning team, please reach out to Linda Kruger at lindalaska2003@gmail.com or 907-957-0335.

All Juneau seniors are encouraged to complete the online questionnaire at https://bit.ly/jnu-age-friendly-questionnaires.

Linda Kruger is the AARP Alaska Community Action Team Coordinator.

 
 
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