The city of Glendale is closer to the creation of an active and official committee dedicated to assisting seniors after a city commission Monday approved a report recommending the committee for consideration by City Council in April.
The request to establish a Senior Services Committee, which would meet quarterly, is a conclusion reached in a 2017 report by Glendale's Senior Services Unit, and it's meant to assess the needs of seniors citywide. It is one of six recommendations made in the report that sought to answer the question of how to serve seniors effectively.
"The whole point of the needs assessment was to see if we needed a committee like we used to back in the day that can plan and coordinate assistance for seniors," said Maggie Kavarian, senior community services supervisor, who oversaw the assessment.
The Senior Services Unit, part of the Community Services and Parks Department, currently provides case management and a nutrition program to Glendale seniors.
The nonprofit Greater Glendale Council on Aging, formed in 1981, used to meet monthly at the Adult Recreation Center and was led by healthcare and social services professionals working in the community. It has since lost its nonprofit status because the group saw its membership and activity dwindle over the years.
City staff spoke to focus groups and distributed 200 written surveys to seniors at various community centers to learn what are considered to be the highest areas of need. Both placed "housing" and "communication" as the top two priorities, with a split on "emergency preparedness" for those surveyed and "transportation" for the focus group.
"Housing needs was a no-brainer, but I was surprised that both [groups] … wanted more communication, Zavarian said. "That sealed the deal for me that we need this committee."
Along with the committee, the report will recommend that City Council assist seniors by developing housing strategies, healthcare support networks, safety workshops related to fraud and abuse, emergency preparedness for their homes and associated facilities, as well as join the AARP Age-Friendly Network of Cities this year.
City Council members would provide direction to the Senior Services Unit regarding the size and makeup of the committee as well as associated logistics, should they approve its creation.