The resources within this page can be used by older adult residents of St. Louis County and local officials responsible for maintaining Age-Friendly communities.
Visit St. Louis County’s page on the World Health Organization’s Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities.
The Office of Strategy + Innovation launched a unique version of a county statistics program, branded as Impact STLCO, aimed at connecting data to action and aligning for performance impact. For more information about St. Louis County’s older adult population, view these infographics.
Age-Friendly Community Action Plan
The development of St. Louis County’s Age-Friendly Community Action Plan was managed and coordinated by the county Planning team. The scope of the initiative included a two-part assessment process and a detailed, multi-faceted engagement process. The two-part assessment process was designed to include: 1) a comprehensive analysis of publicly available data, local surveys and inventories, and 2) a countywide Livability Communities survey administered by AARP.
The multi-faceted engagement process involved a Citizen’s Advisory Taskforce, interdepartmental county team, professional network of agencies and university advisors, and municipal network of officials and staff. A variety of engagement opportunities were held throughout the planning process, including workshops, focus groups, strategy sessions and public meetings.
Aging Successfully in St. Louis County – A Quality of Life Assessment
This report focuses on the Baby Boom generation, born between 1946 and 1964, and the Silent/Greatest generation born before 1946. Using mainly publically available data, this assessment provides a detailed demographic, economic and health profile of the county’s older residents, examines housing issues like home ownership and affordability, inventories public sector services provided by local governments and agencies, and identifies place-based initiatives in St. Louis County. Findings from this assessment are organized around several key areas that influence the quality of life of seniors and correspond to the elements that make an age-friendly, livable community.
To extend the reach of the Age-Friendly Community Action Plan, and assist municipalities in taking steps to better serve their older residents, St. Louis County has created an Age-Friendly Municipal Toolkit. The purpose of the toolkit is to provide concrete resources municipal leaders and staff can use to build their capacity for an aging population and age-friendly community.
The Age-Friendly Municipal Toolkit can be used in its entirety, or by chapter, as it links municipalities to resources that work towards age-friendly communities. The toolkit is intended to be a living document and will be continually updated as additional pieces are created. The chapters within the toolkit were created with the input of a working group of municipal representatives.
The purpose of the toolkit is to provide concrete resources municipal leaders and staff can use to build their capacity for an aging population and age-friendly community.
Many home maintenance problems can be avoided if routine home care steps are taken. However, it is difficult to find a clear, comprehensive list of which home care tasks a resident should take care of and when. As they age, some older adults may lose the ability to maintain their homes by themselves, or, others may lose interest in managing all maintenance on their own.
This seasonal home care and repair checklist provides residents with a clear indication of which maintenance tasks should be taken care of and when. The checklist is organized into three categories: Do-It-Yourself, Get Some Help, and Hire a Professional. Some home care tasks could be potentially dangerous for older adults. By indicating which tasks may require additional help, or help from a professional, an older adult can be aware of the risk involved and take safety precautions. The checklist can be distributed in your community or used as a template to modify and update for your residents.
Access and Functional Needs Registry
The Access and Functional Needs Registry is a secure database of information administered by the St. Louis County Department of Human Services containing information about elderly or disabled individuals who may need additional or special assistance in the event of an emergency.
The Registry is intended to serve as an emergency preparedness tool whereby the elderly, disabled, and those with mobility needs provide information about any medical or physical conditions that could interfere with their ability to respond to disasters or emergencies in a safe and timely manner.
St. Louis County emergency response agencies can use this information to better plan and more effectively provide emergency response for those that may need additional assistance during these events. It is the policy of the Department of Human Services that all Registry information remains strictly confidential. Legislation was passed in the current session to exempt registry information from Missouri’s Sunshine Law.
Similar to facilities audits, walk audits are evaluation tools that rate the built environment of the transportation network on ease of access, use and comfort for residents of all ages. The built and social environments of a community greatly impact the livability of that community – particularly for older adults living in the area. To ensure the built environment of our communities facilitate safe mobility, we must assess the current state of our neighborhoods and analyze our streets, intersections, sidewalks, and pedestrian facilities.
Walk audits can be done in any community – all you need are audit tools, clipboards, safety vests and willing participants. As an example, St. Louis County staff from the Departments of Planning, Human Services and Transportation collaborated to plan and host a series of three walkability audits for older adults this year. The County partnered with the St. Louis County Library system and St. Louis OASIS to implement an audit with seniors. St. Louis County staff created an audit tool which provides guidance for auditors looking to assess their built environment. It addresses special considerations specific to older pedestrians such as sensitivity to loud noises and bright lights, cognitive ability and memory, slower walking pace, and susceptibility to steep inclines. The results of walk audits can be valuable to the community planning process and can lead to improved mobility conditions for pedestrians of all ages and abilities.
Here are some great reasons to do a walk audits project:
- Increase exercise opportunities for your residents
- Boost social interaction among neighbors by creating a walking-friendly environment
- Help reduce traffic congestions and pollution by leaving the car at home.
- Increase property values: walkable communities are associated with higher home values!
The audit tool is designed with questions that are straightforward and easy to answer and can be used by municipal staff, officials, or residents. A series of questions were developed for each category with possible answers of either Yes/No. The tool’s benefit is that it provides concrete feedback to improve facilities or public spaces and captures site specific strengths and weaknesses.
One very tangible way a community can evaluate its age-friendliness is by conducting a facility audit: an evaluation tool that rates a space on ease of access, use and comfort for residents of all ages. Government facilities are a natural place to start. They function as places for people to gather inside and outside for pleasure and for business. For this reason, it is important for facilities to be designed and operated in a way that all residents of all ages can use and enjoy them. Additionally, municipal buildings and facilities are owned and maintained by a municipality, so improvements can be planned and budgeted, making change more feasible and actionable.
This assessment and rating tool consists of both internationally recognized age-friendly criteria and criteria developed from a customer service and service delivery perspective. Broadly, the audit considers the following: Location; Exterior Accessibility; Interior Accessibility; Signage and Way finding; and Amenities, Accommodations, and Comfort.