Revising its three-year plan to reflect nearly $342,000 in discontinued funding for community-based services programs (CBSP) and $99,000 in irreplaceable stimulus monies, the Marin County Livable Community Strategic Plan update is notable for the fact that it is expanding its efforts to serve its aging constituency. With a projected 48 percent of its population age 60+ by 2035, Marin County, California continues to explore new ways to innovate despite reduced funding.
This fiscal update reflects the best in strategic thinking and focus for county age wave planning.
Other plan highlights include:
- The Marin County Area Agency on Aging has partnered with Dominican University on a new pilot program, titled the “Intergenerational Social Interaction Project” (page 6-7). This project matches pre-med students with the elderly for “up to five hours per week to provide opportunities for young adults and older persons to interact with each other” (page 7). By doing so, it hopes to match additional services to the elderly while simultaneously inspiring future careers in the field of aging.
- The plan also provides a robust nutritional meal program for the elderly (page 5-6). By prioritizing meal plans for low-income, rural, minority residents and not eliminating any home-based meal services, Marin County is actually able to expand its meal program by 30 percent. In part, this is possible by a slight increase in federal funding. But given the total dollars in fiscal cuts, it is a greater reflection of the priority and value Marin County places on meal programs for its older “at risk” residents.
- The 23 strategic goals marked as “completed” within one fiscal year, with an additional 18 “new” goals listed, reveals the proactive approach taken by Marin County to remain on the cusp of finding age ready solutions for its constituency.
How to Use
Community planners will want to mimic the response by Marin County Area Agency on Aging when faced with limited funding. Smart and innovative partnerships, like that with Dominican University, can serve as effective win/win scenarios to supplement services to older adults. By prioritizing its most valued core service for residents, (nutrition) when Marin County experienced budget cuts it was able to respond by increasing that core service – a response many community planners should be prepared to make.