Do you believe an engaged and connected community is key to improving the lives of older adults? Michael Jones, president of (SCAN) Sarasota County Aging Network, is one of those who do and he is looking forward to 2013 as Sarasota’s largest association of senior services expands its membership, education and philanthropy.
This 160 member organization founded in 1976, includes non-profits, social services, hospitals, senior housing, in-home care and other professionals, connecting an impressive services network for families who are faced with the issues of aging. The membership includes like minded individuals who share a common vision of making a positive difference and represents nearly every organization in Sarasota serving the needs of seniors.
“Sarasota is often publicized as one of the hottest retirement towns with a thriving and growing senior population. By planning actively for future needs of our aging population we can be certain Sarasota is a good place to grow old. It is important to SCAN’s member organizations that senior citizens in our community have full access to the wealth of information, support and activities that improve their quality of life,” according to Jones.
As the owner of Comfort Keepers, an in-home care agency in Sarasota, Jones often provides advice and direction to children seeking resources for their aging parents and finds that many care decisions are made with urgency.
“By identifying the challenge faced by families when attempting to navigate the wealth of senior resources available, it was clear that SCAN was in a position to make a difference. As a result, SCAN’s board of directors funded the launch of SarasotaCountyAgingNetwork.Com, an unbiased place for information and assistance for older adults.
“This is an exciting time for SCAN, as we expand our voice to more people seeking assistance and expand access to exceptional education, news, research and special events through our online community. Our monthly meeting speakers include a stellar list of leaders who keep us up to date on Sarasota’s exceptional senior focus. While meetings are reserved for members, guests are invited to attend a meeting before joining and excerpts from the most recent speakers, Miriam Lacher, Director of Behavioral Health at Bayside Mental Health, and Dr. Frederick Romano, Director of Emergency Medicine at Doctor’s Hospital are available on the website for public access.
SCAN’s philanthropy is positioned to expand in 2013 as well. Fundraising efforts have relied solely on advertising revenue from the SCAN Directory, a 23 year old print publication for seniors distributed to senior centers, hospitals and other strategic locations throughout the county. SarasotaCountyAgingNetwork.Com, with links to the site from most senior service organizations in Sarasota, creates a valuable marketplace for advertising and a greater support for SCAN’s grant program.
This year, SCAN contributed $16,000 in grants to support local non- profit organizations or others working as volunteers to help seniors. SCAN’s preference is to support efforts that help the largest number of seniors and do not duplicate the efforts of others.