In early 2015 Barbara Franklin, Chair of the Greater Charleston chapter, learned of a new program at the Edgar Allan Poe library on Sullivan’s Island, Aging Gracefully. The program highlighted some key aging in place issues so, Poe librarian, Delores Schweitzer was inspired to offer a three part series on Aging in Place for seniors and their families to be held at the Poe library in March and April.
Using Aging in Place’s online Act III template as a platform to help explain aging in place, Franklin designed the series around the comprehensive plan. Act III was created, edited, and reviewed by thought leaders from all over the country, over an 18 month period, at two annual NAIPC meetings and an Aging in Place Summit in DC. The organizational tool has expertise in each critical area of life: home, health and wellness, personal finance, transportation, and community involvement/social interaction. On October 13, 2014 NAIPC held a Summit in Washington, DC and officially launched the first comprehensive plan for Americans that want to grow old in their homes.
Realizing the potential in Act III Franklin split up each critical area of life to be addressed in a different part of the series. Franklin then made a workbook using printouts from the Act III online template to encourage discussion and promote questions throughout each session.
Franklin’s first session, which she called a “Big Picture” look at aging in place, consisted of group discussions and workbook activities allowing attendees to familiarize themselves with aging in place. Delores Schweitzer said, “Barbara’s overview of the Aging in Place Movement helped to broaden our audience’s understanding of many critical issues facing seniors today, while encouraging them with information about government, nonprofit and commercial services available to meet their needs.”
Sessions two and three were presided over by Paul Franklin and Dana Madanski. Paul’s session had both local and seasonal attendees seeking to address financial/legal, transportation, and housing concerns. Dana, the Communications Chair for the Charleston chapter, dealt in large part with the Community aspect of aging in place. She was able to customize her session per the audience’s requests, into a group discussion. By the end of the third session Dana realized that several personal and working connections had been made among the attendees, underlining a major component of this movement.
“Paul and Dana did a wonderful job of unpacking it into manageable pieces,” and they customized their sessions based on audience preferences. The team received great feedback and lots of interest for future seminars in the area.
South Carolina has the fastest growing senior population in the country, according to the SC plan on Aging, so the Greater Charleston chapter will be conducting more aging in place programs, tailoring each series by increasing the session number from three to four, and involving local service providers as speakers.
The Greater Charleston chapter has proven that the Act III template is a great and functional way to promote discussions and spread the word regarding Aging in Place.
By Jessica Hoefer, Member Services Coordinator