Columbia Association (CA) is developing a comprehensive plan for serving older adults — a plan that will help decide how best to serve all of the segments of the older adult community into the future.
“CA has long worked to provide programs and services that are attractive to the older adult community, and we want to take a step back, reassess our efforts in this area, and make sure that we do absolutely as much as we can to serve that growing segment of our community,” said Rob Goldman, CA’s chief operating officer and the chairman of the team of CA staff and volunteers working on the comprehensive plan.
Demographic and census data show that the older adult population is the fastest growing segment of the community. But the focus on older adults won’t come at the expense of other age groups, according to Goldman.
“CA understands that there are lots of segments of the community that it needs to serve well, and has long sought to serve as part of its mission of making Columbia a great place to live, work, play, learn and grow,” he said.
CA has brought together a work team that includes CA staff, a village community association representative and members of CA’s Senior Advisory Committee. It will also be consulting with local experts, including community agencies and Dr. Kevin Carlson, a local physician with a specialty in gerontology. A work group comprised of members from the Leadership Howard County program will be assisting with interviewing older adults throughout the county and identifying regional and national best practices.
CA will also be examining local, regional and national trends relating to the aging population or that impact older adults; documenting all of the services, facilities and programs that serve older adults throughout the county, as well as the marketing and promotion of these. The work team will then recommend the implementation of new programs and amenities based on analyzing the gaps between this research and current programs and services.
This will ultimately lead to a draft plan that will recommend and prioritize how to enhance and promote CA’s programs, facilities and services. That draft plan will come before the community and the CA Board of Directors for input and revision before implementation.
“And if the plan identifies something that the county or some other organization can provide, our plan can advocate for it,” Goldman said.
The meetings of the work team are open to the public, and there will be other opportunities for public participation as well, which will be announced in the future. For more information, go to columbiaassociation.org/olderadults/