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Published March 6th, 2019
Focus groups form to tackle age-friendliness of Lafayette
The Don Tatzin Community Hall was packed with people brainstorming ways to improve options for senior inclusion within the city. Photo Pippa Fisher

The room was filled to capacity for the Feb. 20 Age-Friendly Community Kickoff event as residents came together to brainstorm ways in which Lafayette could improve as a livable city to allow the full inclusion of people of all ages and abilities, particularly older adults.
AARP California Associate State Director Rafi Nazarians flew in from Southern California to present the city with a framed proclamation of Lafayette's commitment to become an Age-Friendly Community under the criteria established by AARP and the World Health Organization, and stating that Lafayette has been accepted as a member of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities.
One by one, speakers introduced the eight domains of livability. These speakers will be leading focus groups over the next few weeks to examine the following areas (domains): outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, work and civic engagement, communication and information, and community and health services.
For a 30-minute period the room was filled with chatter and laughter too as the community grappled with the prompted questions: What do you love about Lafayette? What are the current age-friendly needs, and what age-friendly needs do you foresee for the future? With suggestions ranging from the need for better transportation options to longer walk times on crossing lights, ideas were shared and recorded and will be assigned to the relevant domain over the next few weeks as smaller focus groups meet and work on the next steps.
Lafayette Senior Services Coordinator Maureen Neumann was pleased with the strong turnout. "I was thrilled to see so many join us at the kickoff to have their voices heard. Excellent ideas, thoughts and suggestions were shared, many of which will hopefully be included in the end result: an action plan," she said.
Mayor Cam Burks was delighted with the event too, saying that the event represented the truly remarkable character and spirit of the city. "It was an amazing success with an absolutely packed room filled with community members who immediately rolled up their sleeves and dove right in to developing scope, strategies, ideas and approaches to improve the eight Domains of Livability in Lafayette."
Burks noted that the leadership of the senior services commission was extraordinary, saying "I'm grateful to Chair Terry Black and every one of our volunteer commissioners and city staff members for the profound impact they are making. Something very special happened in that room on Wednesday and it made me more proud of Lafayette than I've ever been."

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