Agency of Aging changes mission statement
August 8, 2018


The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida has served Lee County's older community members for 40 years, and it has evolved in ways nobody could have expected when it was founded in 1978.

Last month, its board of directors approved a change to its official mission statement from something task-oriented to something that focuses on the client.

The new mission statement reads:

"Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida connects older adults and adults with disabilities to resources and assistance for living safely with independence and dignity."

Kirsten O'Donnell, director of communications at AAASWFL, said what they do hasn't changed, but the board felt the mission statement didn't accurately reflect what they do.

"It was confusing and it was a mouthful. People would read it and not know what it means. We went through a process where we tried to identify a better way to phrase our mission so it's understandable to outsiders," O'Donnell said. "It's more operational sounding. It will also help us with strategic decisions in the future."

The statement was crafted by agency staff after several months of assessment and review.

"Our agency is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, so it's a great time to reexamine our focus," said Marianne Lorini, president and CEO for AAASWFL. "Our previous mission statement was more task-oriented. The new mission statement reveals a client-centered focus. It reflects not only what we do but our vision for the clients we serve."

It's not the first time the agency has changed its statement, but it has come along over the years, O'Donnell said, thanks to the help of everyone in the organization.

"We've been around a long time. We've seen a few mission statements, but the focus remains largely the same. The way we describe it to people has matured," O'Donnell said.

"Every member of our staff participated in crafting the new mission statement," Lorini said in a statement. "We had company-wide workshops and a committee that worked on the new statement. Everyone's input was valued - from the folks who work with clients every day to our office and administrative staff."

In 2017, the agency assisted more than 33,000 older adults, caregivers and others in Southwest Florida through its programs and services, including the Elder Helpline, SHINE Medicare counseling, and health and wellness workshops.

The agency received more than 65,000 calls to its toll-free helpline last year from individuals seeking services for older adults. O'Donnell said they are on pace to exceed 70,000 calls this year.

The mission statement is one of a number of new initiatives for the agency in recent months. It restructured its organizational chart in February, launched a redesigned website in April and an e-newsletter in May.

The AAASWFL is a nonprofit organization serving Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee, and Sarasota counties and is the state's designated aging and disability resource center for Southwest Florida.

AAASWFL distributes state and federal funding for homecare services to those who need them the most, provide the Helpline which provides referrals to organizations to help the elderly live more independently, and offer programs, services and counselling to clients.

More information about the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida is available at or by calling the toll-free Helpline at 866-413-5337 (866-41-ELDER).


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