In 1988 there was a statewide mandate issued by the governor and the State Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services to create what is now known as the "Better Living for Seniors Initiative" to address the needs of the state's senior population.
From this initiative, the Polk County Chapter was organized. From 1988 through 2004 BLFS held their monthly meetings at the Success House adjacent to the College Heights United Methodist Church in Lakeland.
In 2004 BLFS initiated several programs to better serve our community. First was the "Better Season for Seniors" program which collected Christmas gifts to donate to Polk County seniors that had no family and would not otherwise receive a Christmas gift. The first year just over 250 gifts were collected from the community and distributed to Polk County seniors. This program was so well received by both the local businesses in giving gifts and the area homeless shelters, nursing homes, and other social agencies giving BLFS names for people who would appreciate a gift during the holiday season. Every Christmas season BLFS has continued this project and now our gift list is well over 400 gifts distributed throughout Polk County each year.
Another program initiated to educate our community regarding issues confronted by Polk County seniors is the SENSITIVITY TRAINING PROGRAM "EMPATHY FOR ELDERS" which is an educational presentation offered by several BLFS members who volunteer their time to conduct this training seminar. The one-hour class is an interactive and informational study on how to really care for and serve seniors. This class reviews the challenges facing our senior citizens and how we can assist them to better their lives. This senior sensitivity program may be offered to your group by contacting BLFS.
The BLFS education committee also sponsors the "ASK THE EXPERT" forum. This is a question and answer format where an expert in a particular geriatric field answers the most commonly asked questions regarding their particular discipline. These Q&A documents are available for publication in the newsletters of the many 50+ communities within Polk County.
BLFS also offers a great networking opportunity for the many private companies, government, and volunteer agencies to interact and learn what services are available to Polk County seniors.
BLFS also sponsors a wide range of guest speakers at our monthly meetings that bring us all up-to-date on the many aspects of "improving the quality of life" for Polk County seniors.
Membership has grown over the years to over 175 businesses and agencies.
Our tag line says a lot about who we are. Polk County Better Living for Seniors is "A coalition dedicated to improving the lives of seniors."
We face many challenges in the years ahead as America's senior population grows. Working together we can accomplish more. Our coalition exists to provide the networking opportunities and the cumulative resources that we need to meet the growing needs ahead.