Dublin officials are looking at plans to provide the city’s older adults – which represent nearly a quarter of Dublin’s population – with the tools necessary to remain comfortable in their homes as they age.
City employees have developed a strategic plan for residents to age in place, an evolving framework that looks at potential partnerships with organizations already providing services to older adults to improve access.
Dublin City Council members unanimously approved the plan Sept. 11.
City employees will work to provide a development timeline and work with potential partners, said Michelle Crandall, Dublin assistant city manager.
Some parts of the plan could be implemented in the next couple of years, while others could take five or 10 years, Crandall said.
Dublin’s total population is about 47,000, and close to 25 percent of that number is made up of people 55 years old and over, Crandall said.
City surveys show that segment of the population no longer wants to move south, but instead wants to stay in their homes.
“How can we as a city make sure that services that they need to be able to do that are in place?” Crandall said.
Part of the city’s plan includes identifying agencies and organizations in Franklin, Union and Delaware counties that already provide services for older adults to ensure people can more easily access what’s already available, Crandall said.
That goal could entail a “one-stop shop” for older adults and caregivers to obtain those services.
Dublin officials have had preliminary discussions with Ohio University about using space on the school’s Dublin campus for this purpose, Crandall said. Employees from Syntero and the Central Ohio Agency on Aging could be located there as well.
Ohio University is exploring adding a wellness center to its Dublin campus that focuses on successful aging, said Randy Leite, dean of the College of Health Sciences and Professions.
Rather than a traditional recreation center, the facility could provide a place for adults to exercise, take classes on nutrition and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, he said.
People could also access coaching and rehabilitation services there.
The university is also exploring a way to work with Dublin to provide wellness services, such as providing physical assessments and creating individualized wellness plans, Leite said.
“This would really be about how you really prepare yourself for later adulthood,” he said.
In addition to partnering with different organizations to streamline services, the city is also looking at expanding its Yard Squad program.
The program, launched last year through the city’s volunteer resources division, pairs volunteers with older adults who need help with yard work, Crandall said.
City employees have proposed the city look at turning this program into a separate nonprofit organization that is membership-based – older adults could pay per month or per year to participate.
Tasks could range from changing light bulbs to providing transportation.
Similar programs exist in German Village and Clintonville, Crandall said.
Dublin is not alone in finding solutions for its aging residents.
Cleveland has completed a plan for its older adults and Columbus just ended a two-year planning process, branded Age-Friendly Columbus, said Cindy Farson, director of the Central Ohio Agency on Aging.
As communities evolve to accommodate older adults, walkable neighborhoods are important, Farson said, as are living spaces with first-floor bedrooms and options beyond single-family homes.
Dublin is a community that has committed to embracing the aging in place movement, Farson said.