Design and plan your project
Older adults are the resource, and how you engage them is the strategy. It’s time to bring people together to look at what you’ve learned, define your issue and the impact you want to have, build interest and support for your project, and develop a plan to leverage the knowledge, skills, and interests of older adults.
After completing a community Assessment you’ll have an understanding of who the older adults in your community are, what they care about, the ways they participate, and the opportunities and barriers to engaging them. With this information you can begin to strategize and create pathways to meaningful engagement.
Older adults want to make a difference, contribute to something they care about, and use their skills productively. Many want to meet people, make friends, be involved, and develop new skills. If you haven’t done so already, it’s important to invite older adults to participate in the project development process.
Unlike the assessment, which uses a fairly linear and straightforward process, the Strategy phase is more dynamic, circuitous, and unpredictable. Since every community is different, there is no “one size fits all” path to follow or solution to recommend. This work requires an understanding of your community’s context, the older adults you’d like to engage, and making choices that are reflective of both. You’ll need to be clear about what you want to accomplish, invite participation, establish partnerships, and thoughtfully design a collaborative approach. Each community will shape its own project as it taps into local resources and frames the community need and response according to its own unique cultures and circumstances.