Aware of the impact that aging “babyboomers” will have on the community, the Town of Cutler Bay has posted on its website a “Senior Citizen Surveys and Needs Assessment Report” which has been an ongoing project. The report also was presented during a recent town council meeting.
Because Cutler Bay has been designated a “Communities for a Lifetime” municipality by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, the town created a Communities for a Lifetime Committee comprised of five town residents appointed by the town council in order to plan and implement improvements that will benefit both young and elderly residents.
The committee chair, Marilyn Rams, said that she thinks the survey will be beneficial and appreciated everyone who participated.
“The Communities for a Lifetime Committee of the Town of Cutler Bay is very excited to have the results of the Senior Citizen Surveys and Needs Assessment, which will allow the town to look at the need for programs and services of our citizens in order to help them age in place,” Rams said.
“We want to thank all the volunteers who took time to go door to door and conduct the surveys. We would also like to thank the residents who participated in answering the survey questions which will help us gauge what the needs are now and what they may be in the future.”
The 65-page Needs Assessment Report was developed by Strategic Partners, a consultant hired by the town. It includes several demographic maps and results from surveys obtained from the town’s senior community. The purpose of the report is to help the town establish needed programs and services, as well as to set priorities for its senior population.
The project involved in-depth analysis of the 2010 Census and data from the American Community Survey as well as analysis of data available from the Area Agency on Aging regarding older adults and the services offered by various agencies. The survey also reviewed service providers working within the town in order to project senior needs and to assess the resources that are currently available for at-risk and/or frail elders.
According to town manager Rafael Casals, individual senior interviews were conducted by volunteers and focus groups were arranged with senior residents to determine their perspectives toward various “helping” resources, and to identify opportunities where their ability to live safely in community settings could be improved.
Interviews with the town’s faith-based community and other community agencies were performed to analyze where “natural support” resources could be utilized. Existing resources available through the town were examined to identify which services are perceived as “senior friendly.”
Councilmember Sue Ellen Loyzelle, who was the liaison for the project and helped guide the efforts, was pleased with the results.
“I am very proud of all the volunteers and committee members who spent countless hours developing the Senior Citizens Surveys and Needs Assessment report,” Loyzelle said. “This report will set the foundation for the town to incorporate these results in the Strategic Master Plan Update and the Transportation Master Plan Update.
“Additionally, the report was transmitted to all of the state and local elected officials and senior agencies in order to share the findings of our report,” she said. “A special ‘thank you’ to the town’s Parks and Recreation staff for all of their assistance with this project.”
Residents wishing to review the completed report can visit the town’s website at www.cutlerbay-fl.gov or contact the Town Clerk’s Office at 305-234-4262 to request a copy.