LO Village, DDA seek community input for seniors ‘Community for a Lifetime’ project

Both the survey and volunteer forms will be available on-line at www.downtownlakeorion.org.
Paper copies are available at the DDA office, 118 N. Broadway St.
By Susan Carroll
Review Writer
The village and the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) are asking for community input to complete a survey that covers 10 areas of citizens’ lives in the Village of Lake Orion.
While the questionnaire is all inclusive, the initial focus will be to help make Lake Orion an “aging-friendly” community. The assessment will allow officials to identify the areas that need to be developed or improved upon.
The survey, provided by the Community for a Lifetime (CFL) and developed by the Office for Services to the Aging (OSA), consists of 10 categories that target living in the village.
The assessment will require participation and commitment by a broad group of individuals over a period of time, and a number of meetings. The assessment will be managed by the Lake Orion DDA. This process will be ongoing and will require information gathering, community discussion and some judgment. The community group will use the assessment as the first step in the process of improving the community.
The DDA is asking for volunteers to help in the process of improving the community. There will be opportunities to participate in meetings and research along with many other volunteer areas. There is no need to have experience in any areas to be a volunteer; the village welcomes everyone’s assistance.
A community built to provide residents an exceptional quality of independent living, while having access to the resources enabling them to do so, not only helps retain residents, but it also attracts new ones, according to the OSA.
The CFL is part of a national aging-friendly community movement that was developed by the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging with assistance from the State Advisory Council on Aging.
The 10 categories are based upon a combination of material and input collected from community assessments and research on aging-friendly and livable communities and will cover the following topics and how they apply to Lake Orion.
• Walkability: Walking and biking are practical, viable options for residents of all ages. The physical environment is designed and maintained in a way that is sensitive to the needs of older adults and has barrier-free multi-purpose trails and paths that can be used easily.
• Supportive community systems: People, structures and processes are in place for assessing current conditions, planning for improvements and evaluating progresses to accomplish them. Residents have access to, and assistance using, current technology and emergency assistance with basic needs available. Older adults have access to information and can easily get connected to services if they have a specific need.
• Access to health care: Promotes good health for all ages and especially for older adults and have access to quality medical services. Helps residents remain independent as long as possible as they age.
• Safety and security: Makes the safety and security of residents a priority.
• Housing (availability and affordability): Has a variety of housing options for older adults with different physical, social or financial status. Making sure housing is affordable in relation to household income and zoning.
• Housing (modification and maintenance): People have access to services for making home modifications that are needed as they age. Older adults have access to home maintenance services necessary to keep their property functional and attractive.
• Public transportation: Affordable transportation is available that riders find convenient, safe and dependable for getting to common travel destinations with several transportation options nearby for out-of-town travel.
• Commerce: The local businesses accommodate needs and product choices of older customers.
• Enrichment: There are a wide variety of activities that are attractive, affordable, meaningful and accessible to residents of all ages regardless of financial abilities.
• Inclusion: making sure older adults are valued and respected.
The final step in the Michigan Aging Friendly Community Assessment will be to establish priorities for an action plan. The final plan can include expanding community assets as well as targeting community features for improvement.