The 47th Ward in Chicago has got it right. Its residents and leaders understand that older adults want to stay in their homes for as long as they can and be active, vibrant members of their community.
To help them do this, Forward Chicago was launched. This innovative website was created with the goal of providing seniors of the 47th Ward with information about neighborhood services, events, programs, and social opportunities that can help them stay connected and participatory in the fabric of life in their community.
Do older adults really use such a service? You bet they do. Check out the site yourself to see its calendar chock full of senior-friendly events. Also, read its information about “block clubs” that bring together neighbors living within a few blocks of each other in order to form alliances of mutual support (How cool is that?). Older adults without computers can visit the Conrad Sulzer Library or the Jane Addams Resource Center right in the neighborhood and use their computers at no charge. Classes in computer basics are also available for free at both locations.
While Forward Chicago is geared toward older adults who want to age in place, I think caregivers of 47th Ward residents should know about this valuable resource, too. If you are caring for someone in this lively neighborhood and are searching for ways to keep your loved one active and connected, Forward Chicago can provide you with a host of ideas (As I write this, I see on the home page that there’s a seminar at the library commencing right now on power foods for better health. That’s not your typical bingo announcement.).
Please check it out and let me know what you think. I’m excited to see how Forward Chicago grows and develops over time. I applaud Forward Chicago’s creators and sustainers, and I would love to see this model replicated throughout the city.