Des Moines AFC LeadersMore than 50 area leaders and community partners joined co-chairs of the Des Moines Age Friendly Communities initiative today for the Phase One Report to the Community on progress toward the capital city’s quest to earn the World Health Organization’s Age Friendly Community designation by 2016.

Key survey findings, a preliminary assessment of how the City of Des Moines measures up to the World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly criteria, and 2014-16 priority recommendations for action were presented at the annual meeting at the Olsen Medical Education Center at Des Moines University.

Committee leaders Dr. Yogesh Shah, Kent Sovern and Joel Olah opened the meeting and facilitated a discussion about new opportunities for collaboration with Des Moines’ neighborhood associations, the Capital Crossroads Plan, The Tomorrow Plan, DART 2035 Plan, and Iowa’s Healthiest State and Blue Zones Initiatives.

Joanne Binette of AARP State Research in Washington, D.C., presented findings from “Working Toward an Age Friendly Community:  An AARP Livable Communities Survey of Greater Des Moines/Polk County, Iowa Residents Ages 50+” via teleconference.

Age Friendly City work group leaders Don Corrigan, Barbara McClintock and Mary Ann Young reviewed  the project’s objectives, criteria-setting and 2014-2016 Priorities for the three established work groups of:  Infrastructure, Social Capital and Health Services.

In 2011, Des Moines became the third U.S. city (following Portland, Ore., and New York City) to join the World Health Organization’s International Network of Age Friendly Cities program, a five-year initiative for communities to earn the WHO designation, “Age Friendly Community.”

The Des Moines ‘Great Places for All Ages’/Age-Friendly City  is a community based effort designed to create an Age-Friendly City and an Age-Friendly Region in Central Iowa where public officials, elder service providers, community leaders, businesses and community members:
•    Recognize the great diversity among the 50+ populations,
•    Promote the civic and social inclusion and contribution of the 50+ population in all areas of community life,
•    Plan, design and build infrastructure improvements that anticipate and accommodate the changing needs and uses by the 50+ populations,
•    Respect the changing lifestyle choices of the 50+ populations, and
•    Anticipate and respond flexibly to aging-related needs and preferences.

The initiative is being led by The City of Des Moines in partnership with Des Moines University, Aging Resources of Central Iowa and AARP Iowa.  The Des Moines Age-Friendly Initiative is guided by a 30-member Advisory Committee representing a variety of community, government and civic organizations.

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