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In the News

City of Buda focus groups give older adults civic outlet

Friday, February 17, 2017

The City of Buda conducted two Focus Groups on Aging in January in effort to plan for meeting the needs of the city’s growing senior population. With a great turnout and lot of discussion, the groups are laying the foundation for Buda to become a more age friendly city where residents no matter their age can live, work, and play.

About 20 people attended each of the two Focus Group on Aging meetings, where they addressed issues related to transportation, recreational activities, and other older American related services. The information collected will help inform a plan to improve senior resources, said Buda City Council member Eileen Altmiller, who requested the City Council form an Aging Advisory Commission. Altmiller also serves on the CAPCOG Executive Committee and the CAPCOG Aging Advisory Council. “Sometimes the views of seniors are not adequately represented, and in Buda, we want to make sure our decisions are beneficial to the whole population,” she said.

While older Americans make up a smaller portion of Buda’s population, it’s important to plan to meet their needs, Altmiller said. Residents who are 60 years old and older are the third fastest growing population in Buda increasing by 50.65 percent between 2009 and 2014 according to U.S. Census data. The same age cohort is the fastest growing population in Hays County with a near 40 percent increase in population during the same time period.

“When communities take steps, such as Buda has done, they benefit the community and the older Americans involved in the process,” said Patty Bordie, CAPCOG’s Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) director. One in four older Americans make a positive impact on their community by volunteering and becoming involved in civic activities. This increased social and active engagement improves their own mental, social, and physical health through, according to the U.S. Administration for Community Living.

Altmiller hopes the city continues to support the aging community in Buda by eventually forming an Aging Advisory commission, she said. “Seniors are looking for volunteer opportunities and this could make a use of their talents. I think the benefits can be a two-way street where we can do something that help seniors such as transportation and then they can turn around and be more engaged in volunteering in the community.”

> Read about more about CAPCOG’s Area Agency on Aging.

Get Involved

As an older adult or someone who wants to give back to the senior community, there is a number of ways to support older Americans throughout the region by volunteering with CAPCOG programs through AAACAP.

Become an advisor
CAPCOG’s Aging Advisory Council meets quarterly to discuss issues as they relate to older Americans throughout the CAPCOG ten-county region. The council advises the CAPCOG Executive Committee on older American issues and assists AAACAP with evaluating programs funded through the older Americans Act. It also works to increase awareness on aging related issues and programs.
County representatives on CAPCOG’s Executive Committee nominate residents to the Aging Advisory Council.
> Contact Patty Bordie, AAACAP director to volunteer.
> Learn more.

Become an ombudsman
The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program provides advocacy and friendly support for individuals living in nursing and assisted-living facilities by investigating complaints, reporting findings and helping achieve resolutions between the individual and the facility. With more than 230 facilities in the region, volunteers are instrumental to ensuring seniors receive proper care. Volunteers must be 18 or older and complete a training course. They also must complete an internship where they work at an assigned facility for two to four hours a month.
> Contact Pete Moreno, managing lead ombudsman, to volunteer.
> Learn more.

Become a lay leader or coach
AAACAP offers a number of evidence based intervention (EBI) programs to communities throughout the region via its health and wellness program. EBI programs are proven to effectively help older adults to improve or maintain their physical, mental or emotional health. AAACAP’s EBI programs focus on preventing falls, reducing caregiver stress, and managing chronic illnesses. Each program has its own volunteer requirements for lay leaders or coaches.
> Contact Kate Gibbons, health & wellness coordinator, to volunteer.
> Learn more.

Become a benefits counselor
The Benefits Counseling Program works to answer questions about Medicare health care coverage, Medicare related issues and other long-term care public benefits for residents who are 60 years old or older and to Medicare beneficiaries of any age. Counselors are often available by phone, but they visit public locations throughout the region to help residents navigate public benefits in a one-on-one in person atmosphere.
> Contact Janet Barker, program manager, to volunteer.
> Learn more.

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