Aging Alliance Works to Improve Lives of the Elderly

New alliance aims at creating a more age-friendly Monroe County

By Todd Etshman

The member organizations of the Monroe County Aging Alliance banded together in a collaborative effort to help make Rochester a more age-friendly livable community and to promote the value and well-being of older adults.

That collective effort has recently become a joint initiative between the Rochester Area Community Foundation and the United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes.

Leading the alliance are representatives from each organization: United Way consultant Leanne Rorick and Patricia Campbell, former senior director of the Community Foundation’s community programs department.

Rorick is principal of Leanne Rorick Consulting and a research assistant for Cornell University’s Institute for Translational Research on Aging, where she provides training to long-term care facilities.

Campbell, in her role at the Community Foundation, initially convened local leaders in the field to set an aging agenda for the community.

The meetings allowed organizations providing or supporting aging-related services to understand existing systems and structures that impede successful aging, identify strategies to create a community where people age well, share what they were working on, find opportunities to collaborate, and pinpoint gaps that needed to be addressed.

Previous studies by the alliance provide specific areas that need to be addressed in our community and factors the Alliance will focus on improving in the future.

In August 2021, the alliance published a report titled “Poverty in Later Life,” which made some key findings regarding the issue of poverty among the elderly in Rochester.

It found that the number of impoverished older residents in the city is increasing and that elderly Latino residents are the most impoverished.

Recommendations to improve economic security for older adults are included in the report and can also be found in a livable community plan titled “Creating a Community for a Lifetime,” released in December 2021.

In 2023, the alliance will team with the Gerontological Society of America to lead the Reframing Aging Initiative in Monroe County, a long-term social change endeavor designed to improve the public’s understanding of what aging means and the many ways that older adults contribute to society.

The initiative will guide the community’s approach to ensuring supportive policies and programs for people of all ages in Monroe County.

In the future, the Aging Alliance will engage dozens of community partners, including government offices, community-based organizations and businesses to carry out the recommendations identified in the 2023 initiative to create a more age-friendly Monroe County.