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IDEA Center Receives Health Foundation Grant for Age Friendly Center of Excellence

Older adult crossing intersection in Buffalo NY Chippewa and Main Street
Older adult crossing Main Street and Chippewa Street in Buffalo, NY

The IDEA Center, in partnership with the Erie County government, has received an award of $100,000 from the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York to develop an Age Friendly Center of Excellence. Other counties awarded by the Health Foundation include Tompkins and Oneida counties in central New York. These Health Foundation grants are a partnership with the New York State Office for the Aging’s Age-Friendly Planning Grant Program, an initiative that recently awarded 10 additional grants to other counties across the state. The program is designed to help communities and local governments incorporate healthy, age-friendly community principles into all relevant policies, plans, ordinances, and programs.

“The Health Foundation is proud to support these grantees in their ongoing, comprehensive efforts to build Age-Friendly Centers of Excellence,” said Nora OBrien-Suric, PhD, Health Foundation President. “Addressing the social determinants of health is a key part of improving health outcomes for all New Yorkers, and especially older adults. Age-friendly communities are the future of a healthy New York State, and we are pleased and grateful to play a role in this initiative.”

The IDEA Center will work with Erie County to integrate inclusive design and livable community strategies across all Erie County departments in alignment with the County’s recently launched Live Well Erie initiative. Goals in this initiative include incorporating universal design into Erie County public spaces and buildings, technology training for older adults, decreasing social isolation through a homeshare program for older adults, and addressing longstanding barriers to transportation for County residents.

“The IDEA Center is thrilled that the leadership in Erie County sees value in weaving universal design into the fabric of Live Well Erie and across their departments. Universal design is a process that can be used to create inclusive buildings and spaces, programs, products, and policies to increase community participation for people of all ages. Our partnership with the County will put universal design research into practice, and our team is looking forward to participating in New York State’s Age Friendly learning collaborative to learn and share best practices,” said Brittany Perez, Director of Outreach and Engagement for the IDEA Center. Perez is a graduate of the Health Foundation’s Health Leadership Fellows program.

Erie County is proud to accept this grant and to be able to accelerate its work of becoming an age-friendly community. Through the Live Well Erie effort, my administration has an ambitious agenda for supporting our older adults. This grant will allow Erie County to partner with UB’s Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access to implement initiatives identified in the Live Well Erie process that are crucial to our older population. This is another example of county government helping ensure residents’ golden years are truly golden.

County Executive, Mark Poloncarz
Live Well Erie County Press Conference

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