CHEYENNE - The second listening session for the AARP Age-Friendly Laramie Initiative will take place on Thursday, May 31 from 6-8 p.m. at The Lincoln Community Center, 365 West Grand Avenue in Laramie. All residents who have interest in making Laramie a better place to live and age are invited to attend.
The visioning session will attempt to determine the priorities of Laramie’s residents, age 50 and over. Among that discussion is determining what services exist in Laramie and what gaps in services need to be addressed.
“The main reason for Age-Friendly Laramie to exist is to provide formal structure and support to older adults who may wish to age in place,” says Age Friendly Laramie organizer, Bernard Steinman, PhD. “We don’t want people to leave the community, where they’ve lived their lives, where their family and friends still reside, for lack of other options. Fortunately, we still have time to plan and make important decisions about how to proceed in the future.”
The May 31 event will be the second listening session for the AARP Age Friendly Laramie effort. A number of Laramie citizens took part in the first of three listening sessions on April 26, after the City Council of Laramie signed the Age-Friendly Laramie Resolution, which offers the city’s support of the Age-Friendly Laramie.
Steinman said the first listening session in April focused on concerns around housing options and limited transportation options to driving. Another area of interest to the participants of the April event was the concern with communication with other adults 50 and over. Steinman said there appears to be an opportunity to develop a network of information in Laramie offering volunteer opportunities, as well as an idea for what is going on within the community.
What is Age Friendly?
Age-friendly or livable communities have walkable streets, housing and transportation options, access to key services and opportunities for residents to participate in community activities. The AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities encourages states, cities, towns and counties to prepare for the rapid aging of the U.S. population by paying increased attention to the environmental, economic and social factors that influence the health and well-being of older adults.
Internationally, the program has participating communities in more than 20 nations, as well as 10 affiliates representing more than 1,000 communities. In Wyoming, Casper and Jackson have achieved Age-Friendly status through AARP.
At the local level, Steinman, a University of Wyoming faculty member and Research Director at Wyoming Center on Aging (WyCOA), is leading the local Age-Friendly team, along with help from representatives from the Eppson Center for Seniors, WyCOA, and Foster Grandparents of the Wyoming Rockies.
While there is strong leadership in the program, Steinman emphasizes that this is a program that will be citizen-led in order to flourish.
“I think that the best stakeholders to have at the table when attempting to solve issues that are important to older people are older residents themselves,” Steinman says. “They know best what their situations is, and probably have quite a lot of insight into how many of those issues could be addressed.”
For more information on Age-Friendly Communities through AARP, see: https://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/network-age-friendly-communities/info-2014/an-introduction.html, or contact Tom Lacock at AARP Wyoming at 307-432-5802 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Age-Friendly Laramie, call Steinman at (307) 766-5688.