Office for the Aging


Community Empowerment

Community Empowerment is a NYSOFA initiative designed to work with state and local partners to develop a locally directed working structure/ to advance the livable community premise. It is designed to enhance awareness of existing community assets, identify existing issues/ barriers and concerns to create a livable community for older residents, create a detailed action plan with stakeholders and interest groups to address concerns.

The main goals and objectives of the Community Empowerment strategy is to:

  • Help communities assess and plan for meeting the challenges and opportunities for becoming a livable community/ that is age friendly,
  • provide a comprehensive analysis of services, land use policies, institutions both public and private, environmental and other factors that contribute to the ability of individuals to “to age in place”,
  • Design a place where people of all ages and abilities will stay - Active, Happy and Healthy - as they grow older in their own homes and communities.

NYSOFA is encouraging local communities to start planning to make positive changes / making them more livable - enabling/ empowering older persons to live independently. The process must address the challenges and opportunities presented by the population which is growing older.

Examples of community empowerment at the local level.

  1. Allegany County- The Community Partnership on Aging in Allegany County sponsored on May 5th an Aging Conference entitled "Creating Livable Communities“ at Alfred University. This conference focused on aging and leadership, healthy aging/healthy community and is was open to students, seniors and professionals. For more information contact Kim Toot, Allegany Area Agency on Aging Director (585) 268-9390.
  2. Chautauqua County- hosted mini rural-aging summit on May 20th at SUNY Fredonia expanding on the work that was done at the Rural Aging Summit Ithaca College, September 20 & 21, 2007. Of the seven areas of concern that were identified in Ithaca, three were be focused on at this conference including employment, technology infrastructure needs and volunteerism. A committee consisting of representatives from the AAA, RSVP and Catholic Charities have already been formed in this region to address volunteerism/workforce issues. Another group is looking at transportation issues. For more information contact MaryAnn Spanos, Chautauqua Area Agency on Aging Director (716) 753-4471.
  3. Chemung County- Planning is underway for a June 19 conference on livable communities in Elmira with special attention paid to how to tap into the baby-boomers’. This event seeks to foster a collaborative environment within Chemung County between stakeholders and will focus on economic development, transportation, health care, housing, leisure/recreation, volunteerism and human service matters. For more information contact Sam David, Chemung County Dept. of Aging & Long Term Care Director (607) 737-5520.