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The Engagement Coordinators for Age-Friendly Forsyth work to sift through data obtained through a series of surveys and conversations on how services can be improved for older adults.

If you’re aged 60 or older or care for an adult in that age group, you could become one of six members that Age-Friendly Forsyth needs for its Community Engagement Council.

Age-Friendly Forsyth, an initiative that’s gained national attention, has entered its second year of operation. It resulted from the CEOs of Winston-Salem’s largest organizations concluding that the best way to better the lives of Forsyth County’s older adults was to ask them directly what needs to be improved — before taking action.

This strategy, in contrast to a top-down approach, relies on input gathered from surveys and in community conversations with older adults in 16 areas around the county, each represented by a council member. Council members help gather information from the surveys and community conversations. They also act as key sources of information that can assist seniors in a variety of areas.

After data is collected, Age-Friendly Forsyth’s leadership team — which consists of nonprofits, corporations, and council members — meets to develop the most effective response. The idea is to form task forces that enable various entities and individuals to work collaboratively and in ways that close gaps in services, identify best practices, and avoid duplication.

The leadership team operates on a self-funded collective impact model; partner organizations contribute funds for all initiative activities. The amount each organization gives is on a scale related to its operating budget.

Age-Friendly Forsyth plans to address issues in several areas, from physical and mental health to empowerment and engagement. Its first two priorities will be enhancing awareness of and access to services for older adults, as well as addressing home repair and modification needs. About 20 percent (14,600) of the county’s adults aged 60 and older have some repair or modification need.

As of early October, council members were needed from the Rural Hall and Walkertown areas, and from the 27103, 27105, and 27284 zip codes. Anyone wishing to apply for membership on the council should contact Theresa Hoffman-Makar at 336-701-1700, ext. 103 or theresa@forsythfutures.org.

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