Livable Communities – Social Services

Side view of elderly couple

Livable communities have adaptable social services to support aging in place. Social and support services are broad and can relate to mobility, nutrition, personal care, financial management and other areas.

  • Minor changes in physical or mental condition can sometimes spur radical life changes, such as a move into an institutional setting because adequate services are not available, accessible or not known.
  • Connecticut’s Commission on Women, Children and Seniors has engaged in collaborative, long-standing work to choose how and where people receive long-term services and supports. From this work, we know that people want to be able to stay in their communities and have choice, independence and dignity.
  • Robust social services and supports can prevent initial and repeated encounters with the health care system, improve quality of life, and keep people in their homes and communities.
  • Social services and supports help people carry out a range of activities, such as
    • The tasks necessary for independent community living, such as shopping, meal preparation, managing finances, and house cleaning and maintenance;
    • The tasks necessary to maintain an active and engaged life, such as work and recreation; and
    • In some cases, basic functions such as eating, dressing or bathing.
  • Effective community-level primary mental health care for older adults is not only critical in and of itself but also promotes the overall health of older adults, prevents disease and helps manage chronic illness.
  • Religious, spiritual and social connectivity can be vital to ensuring the physical and emotional well-being of older adults.
  • Caregivers, providing supports to spouses, parents, children, other relatives or friends, also require support in their important and economically valuable role.
  • Naturally occurring retirement communities (NORCs) are an example of an innovative social and support delivery model. They leverage the geographic clustering of older adults to deliver targeted social and supportive services to help residents age in place.

Recommendations for Communities

_____ Support a robust local social services system that addresses community needs through strategic collaborations among and between other municipal departments and divisions—like parks and recreation, public health and transportation services—and community leaders. Explore opportunities for regional collaboration.

_____ Promote public awareness of and information about existing social and support services available.

_____ Promote opportunities for mutual intergenerational support. For example, young parents need child care, while older adults need transportation for errands; teenagers need employment while older adults need help with small chores around the house.

_____ Promote information, training and support for family caregivers across the lifespan, including grandparents raising grandchildren.

_____ Promote and support collaboration among social and aging services, adult protective services and other key partners for safety education and prevention of physical and financial elder abuse and exploitation.

_____ Promote and support collaboration among police, fire, aging services and adult protective services for safety education and prevention of physical and financial elder abuse.