Between 1946 and 1964, an estimated 78 million Americans were born — the baby boomers. This population explosion did more than just change the census — it changed the way we played, learned, worked, married and raised our children. In short, it changed the way we live.
In 2006, the first of the boomer generation began reaching retirement age. This generation and the sweeping changes they prompted are now transforming the way we age.
It is estimated that by 2030, more than 70 million Boomers will be 65 or older. At that time, nearly one in five Americans will be an “older American”. With this significant change in demographics and the needs of the older adult population, communities need to ask the question: Are we ready to help our residents Age Well and Live Well?
What is a Community Collaborative?
Age Well Live Well encourages people and communities to take a proactive approach toward aging well. To enlarge local programs and capacity, and create aging well environments, AWLW provides interested communities with tools and resources to form local collaboratives or support existing community initiatives. AWLW offers the AWLW Community Collaboration Toolkit to help interested organizations come together and develop local partnerships. These collaboratives provide their residents with awareness, programs and resources that support aging well.
There are also options to partner with AWLW at a statewide level through the Texas Health and Human Services Aging Services Coordination office. ASC works with a diverse group of partners including corporations, service organizations, universities, faith-based organizations and local governments. Our partners provide in-kind and financial support for ASC programs, as well as volunteer leadership and educational outreach that energize the agency’s programs and services.
Through the AWLW campaign, local organizations and community partners create collaboratives to share resources and information, create and promote wellness programs, and identify opportunities for residents to age and live well. These collaboratives comprise public, private and nonprofit organizations that want to see – and realize together – quality wellbeing for their older residents.
Programs highlighted in Age Well Live Well are easily implemented in community settings and most are free or have minimal associated costs.
How to Create a Collaborative
- Define the needs of older residents and start drafting the mission and goals of a collaborative.
- Identify potential community partners. Use your existing network, but also think outside of traditional partnerships. Find a common thread – services, audiences, needs and desired outcomes.
- Connect with the partners you have identified. Highlight the common threads you share and feature the wins a collaborative can offer – resources/services for employees, awareness of their organization, formal recognition/award, etc. Make it easy to work together by developing processes/policies to ease collaboration and share responsibilities.
- Maintain the collaborative by establishing a well-defined vision, mission, goals, roles and responsibilities; have regular communications and meetings with partners; make sure all partners’ voices are heard and use the feedback you receive. Recognize the partners, especially those that go above and beyond.
Tools for Collaboratives
The Age Well Live Well campaign provides an array of resources to help local collaboratives develop their partnerships, create structure in their collaborative and plan events and programs. To learn more about these resources email AgeWellLiveWell@hhsc.state.tx.us.AWLW Partners
Texas Health and Human Services has enlisted key statewide organizations to help local communities develop Age Well Live Well (AWLW) collaboratives. Statewide partners include:
- State and local HHS offices
- Area agencies on aging (AAA)
- State supported living centers
- AgriLIFE extension agents
These statewide organizations are foundational partners for local collaboratives and provide free or low cost aging well programs and resources.
Below are examples of organizations that are involved in their communities and provide services and supports for older Texans. Be sure to consider including them when creating an Age Well Live Well collaborative:
- Civic and social organizations
- Networking groups
- Volunteer programs
- Hospital groups
- Local and statewide media organizations
- Aging and disability service providers
- City parks and recreation departments
- Colleges, universities, institutes of higher learning
- Faith-based entities
Benefits of Developing Local AWLW Communities
Age Well Live Well collaboratives enhance and improve:
- Physical health of residents, employees and the community
- Community involvement in volunteer activities
- Relationships with other organizations that have mutual interests and goals
- Quality of life for all involved
To Learn More
If you are interested in developing an Age Well Live Well community, would like a planning toolkit or want to know more, contact:
Age Well Live Well Coordinator
Community Outreach Specialist
HHS Aging Services Coordination Office