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Purposeful Aging: Good for Seniors, Good for LA!

Community leaders representing 46 Neighborhood Councils met with General Managers Laura Trejo of the Aging Department and General Manager Jan Perry of the Workforce and Economic Development Department in LA’s first Neighborhood Council Purposeful Aging Liaison Town Hall.

The evening began with welcoming remarks from Commissioner Jerry Gaines of Coastal San Pedro who recognized the councils that were celebrating their 15th anniversaries and acknowledged the long road to empowerment that has resulted in partnerships such as the Purposeful Aging Task Force which brings elected officials, city departments, and community leaders together to engage communities and make government more responsive to local needs.

Margaret Wynne of the Mayor’s Office  opened with an overview of Mayoral Directive #17 which establishes the city’s commitment to improving the lives of today’s older adults and to creating a better tomorrow for future generations.

Trejo initiated a community dialogue with an overview of the State of Aging in LA County and detailed the significant number of partners who have come together to assess every community to determine priorities and needs, engaging the community in establishing priorities for the delivery of services and support.

To view the slide deck, click here.

Perry detailed the significant and positive impact seniors have on the local economy and on the role her department plays in creating innovative opportunities for seniors in an ever-changing economic environment.

Joining the General Managers were John Darnell of Council District 5 and Tim Glick of Council District 3, both who highlighted best practices for Neighborhood Council in partnering with their elected officials on projects that improve the quality of life in their communities.

Glick highlighted the need to identify community organizations that are already active and to bring them together to make the best use of resources, offering as an example the popular all-day Senior Symposium that is conducted in conjunction with One Generation each year. Darnell told the story of how a simple idea turned into a statewide initiative, Senior Fraud Awareness Day.

Housing + Community Investment and Recreation & Parks were represented by Roya Babazadeh and Carl Cooper, respectively. Roya gave an overview of the significant scope of services that her department offers, highlighting the need of Neighborhood Councils to be informed on the process of creating senior housing and active in advocating for their communities. Cooper highlighted the need for community partnerships in prioritizing facilities, maintenance, staffing, and programming.

Representing Neighborhood Councils was Sherri Akers, Co-Chair of Mar Vista’s Aging in Place Committee, who shared the secret to their success, they seized every opportunity to embed their mission in the council’s activities, from the farmers market to community events to land use  discussions. She stressed the need to create resources that educate and shared details of their Speaker Series that has drawn hundreds of people for focused presentations on the many issues seniors face.

Joining akers was Patty Jausoro and Stephanie Vendig of Silver Lake’s 50+ Committee which is new but in a community with a rich legacy of commitment to senior programming. Vendig detailed the journey that began with a commitment to creating a space for seniors with activities, commenced with a partnership with Recreation & Parks, and resulted in a senior club with over 600 members in dedicated facilities that are now too small and must be expanded, all flowing from a simple commitment to make it happen!

Each of LA’s 96 Neighborhood Councils can designate a Purposeful Aging Liaison (and an Alternate) who can be a Board Member or a stakeholder. The President can appoint the Liaison(s) or the Board can select the Liaison(s). Some councils have more than one liaison but there must be a lead who is the single point of contact for the council.

The Mayor’s Executive Directive #17 calls on the City of LA to “develop a Neighborhood Council outreach plan for convening the public meetings required of members of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities and the WHO Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities” and it is in that spirit that the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment is identifying and activating Neighborhood Council Purposeful Aging Liaisons, to connect the City Departments that deliver city services to seniors with the Liaisons, and to support the Liaisons as they activate their respective councils and organize regionally and citywide

For more information on the Neighborhood Council Film Liaison Town Hall, email Stephen Box at or call 213-978-1551.

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