For Immediate Release
County seeks public input on services for older adults and adults with disabilities, and caregivers
SANTA ROSA, CA | January 23, 2023
The Area Agency on Aging invites Sonoma County residents of all ages to offer input on future programs and services for older adults, adults with disabilities, and their caregivers by completing its countywide Senior Needs Assessment Survey by March 15.
Sonoma County residents can take the anonymous survey online or on paper, or provide feedback by joining a group discussion on aging issues during January, February and March.
The AAA, part of Sonoma County’s Human Services Department, provides $3 million annually to nonprofits and community organizations that deliver critical services such as food, transportation, support for caregivers, and care management to older adults, adults with disabilities and caregivers. AAA services reach approximately 5,000 people in Sonoma County.
The survey, conducted every four years, will help define the needs of older adults, adults with disabilities, and their caregivers and will be used to build recommendations for improving services. The findings, which will be published in the Area Agency on Aging Four-Year Plan, will be presented to the agency’s Advisory Council and the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and will be released in spring 2024.
“Input from our community members will shape critical services for older adults and adults with disabilities,” said Paul Dunaway, director of the Human Services Department’s Adult and Aging Division. “We need the public’s input on what is most important and how we can best provide services for the next four years.”
In 2019, the needs assessment revealed that access to support services was a top priority for older adults in Sonoma County. As a result, the Area Agency on Aging has significantly expanded the county’s Information and Assistance program, which allows any older adult or caregiver to call (707) 565-INFO (4636) and speak with a trained social worker who can provide referrals to local services.
There are three ways to participate in the survey:
- Online in English at SeniorsOfSonoma.org or in Spanish at TerceraEdadSonoma.org.
- Paper copies of the survey, in both English and Spanish, are available at senior centers and locations where older adults access services, or by request to the AAA at (707) 565-5900. Mail completed surveys to the AAA in the envelope provided at no cost.
- At a virtual or in-person group discussion about aging issues on one of the dates listed below. To register, visit SeniorsOfSonoma.com or call (707) 565-5900 at least one week prior. You may also request language or other interpreter services.
The anonymous survey asks residents to rate topics by concern and need in areas such as housing, transportation, remaining safely at home, and caregiving. Residents can also identify concerns about aging, including physical and mental health and quality of life. Survey participants can indicate areas they feel are most needed and most important to them. The survey will also gather demographic data about participants to identify concerns that need special attention for services and support.
Current concerns described in the plan include: ease of access to services, access to transportation, affordable housing, accessible health care, caregiver support, elder abuse prevention and services for people living in underserved communities, such as Latinx/Latino/a and LGBTQIA+ older adults. These issues are critically important for many of the county’s 134,000 residents over the age of 59, who account for one in five Sonoma County residents.
“The input we gather from these surveys and focus groups is key to our understanding of how best to allocate the federal funding that we receive,” said Judy Rice, chair of the AAA Advisory Council. “Without the opinions of our county’s older adults, caregivers and adults with disabilities, we cannot fully assess the impact of topics ranging from rising costs of living to natural disasters. We want to know how they’re doing and what support they need.”
The AAA will also host a series of group discussions to solicit public input in January, February and March. Register online here or call (707) 565-5900 to attend.
- 23, 2:30-3:30 p.m., LGBTQIA+ Focus Group, Sebastopol Area Senior Center, 167 N. High St., Sebastopol.
- 27, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Santa Rosa Linda Tunis Apartments, 615 Acacia Lane, Santa Rosa.
- 3, 1:30-2:30 p.m., Charles Street Apartments, 42 Charles St., Cotati.
- 8, 10:30-11:30 a.m., La Luz Center of Sonoma, 17560 Greger St., Sonoma. (Grupo de Enfoque en Español)
- 17, 2:00-3:00 p.m., Russian River Area Senior Resource Center, 15010 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville.
- 21, 1:30-2:30 p.m., Windsor Mobile Country Club, 8109 Conde Lane, Windsor.
- 22, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Roseland Library, 470 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa. (Bilingual English/Spanish)
- 28, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Sonoma County Human Services Department South County Center, 5350 Old Redwood Highway, Petaluma.
- March 3, 1:30-2:30 m., Coast Life Support District – Bill Platt Training Room, 38901 Ocean Dr., Gualala.
- March 7, 10:30-11:30 m., virtual focus group on Zoom.
- March 9, 10:30-11:30 m., virtual focus group on Zoom.
Kristen Font, Communications Manager
Human Services Department