January 4, 2017

City Council Chamber

Ground Floor, City Hall

117 W. Duval Street


Attendance:   Council Members: Sam Newby (Chair), Bill Gulliford (Vice Chair), Aaron Bowman, Anna Lopez Brosche, Katrina Brown, Tommy Hazouri, Joyce Morgan; Assistant General Counsel Paige Johnston; Assistant Council Auditor Kyle Billy; Jordan Elsbury, Administration; John J. Jackson, Yvonne Mitchell, Council Research Division; Legislative Assistant Tess Patterson.


The Chair called the Special Meeting to order at 9:22 a.m. and announced that the topic of the special meeting was Senior Wellness.


Allison Hewett of the Florida/Duval County Health Department provided the Committee with an update on the Zika Virus; there was also an update on the Florida Department of Health-Duval County’s efforts to address Senior Wellness in Duval County.  One of the programs targeting the senior population in Duval County is A New DEAL Diabetes Program: Defeating Diabetes through Education Awareness and Leadership (DEAL).


Ms. Hewett announced that the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) will be announced at a NHANES Open House and Media Day on Wednesday, January 11, 2017.  A Mobile Examination Center (MEC) is being prepared for examinations at Florida State College at Jacksonville, Downtown Campus.


Jeff Backfisch, Community Outreach Manager, City of Jacksonville Senior Services Division, made a PowerPoint presentation on Senior Wellness.  He began by citing the Senior Services Division Mission Statement:  “We encourage and empower senior citizens to live active, independent lifestyles through social, educational, and wellness programs.”


Mr. Backfisch explained that the Senior Services Division stresses wellness and safety.


A critical issue is social isolation.  Seniors often have no social connections.  His division is committed to assisting seniors build new social connections.


Seniors often engage in no physical activity such as physical exercise.  Believing that there are health benefits in exercising, the City has exercise programs in many of the 20 senior centers in Jacksonville.


Wellness programs in the Senior Citizen Centers include nutrition programs, exercise programs, wellness programs and safety programs.  Seniors are often victims of crimes and are always at risk to falling in their homes.


Mr. Backfisch explained that there is a stigma about senior centers.  Many view the senior centers as day care centers.  He reviewed the numerous activities offered at the centers and stressed that transportation is provided at all of the centers.


Council Member Bill Gulliford advocated bringing back the City’s old Neighborhoods magazine to advertise many of the senior activities.  The magazine was shelved some years ago because of budget issues.  Council Member Katrina Brown had asked if the Senior Services Division had any resources in its budget that could be used to advertise all of the services that it provided.  Mr. Backfisch indicated that there were no funds available.  Mr. Gulliford explained that a publicity vehicle like the Neighborhoods magazine would be a great help.


Mr. Backfisch fielded a number of questions.


There being no further business, the special meeting was adjourned at 10:01 a.m.



John J. Jackson, Council Research Division (904) 630-1729



Posted: 4:00 p.m.