Key knowledge leaders from throughout the District recently met to assess needs that ensure the city is an age-friendly community. AARP DC and the District’s Age-Friendly DC Initiative are collaborators for an international effort started by the World Health Organization (WHO) to respond to significant demographics trends in: urbanization and population aging. AARP State Director Louis Davis facilitated a meeting where leaders from area organizations discussed how DC functions in two of ten categories for DC’s Age-Friendly Initiative.
The ten areas that are the focus for DC are:
- Outdoor Spaces and Buildings - accessibility to and availability of safe recreational facilities.
- Transportation - safe and affordable modes of private and public transportation.
- Housing - wide range of housing options for older residents, aging in place, and other home modification programs.
- Social Participation - access to leisure and cultural activities and opportunities for older residents to participate in social and civic engagement with their peers and younger people.
- Respect and Social Inclusion - programs to support and promote ethnic and cultural diversity, along with programs to encourage multigenerational interaction and dialogue.
- Civic Participation and Employment - promotion of paid work and volunteer activities for older residents and opportunities to engage in formulation of policies relevant to their lives.
- Communication and Information - promotion of and access to the use of technology to keep older residents connected to their community and friends and family, both near and far.
- Community Support and Health Services - access to homecare services, clinics, and programs to promote wellness and active aging.
- Emergency Preparedness and Resilience - Information, education and training to ensure the safety, wellness and resilience of seniors in emergency situations.
10. Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Fraud - prevention and prosecution of financial exploitation, neglect, and physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of seniors.
The two categories for the group convened by Davis were: Community Support and Health Services and Emergency Preparedness and Resilience.
Mayor Vincent C. Gray appointed an Age-Friendly DC Task Force co-chaired by George Washington University president Stephen Knapp and Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services BB Otero. AARP DC State President Mercy Morganfield has been appointed to the Task Force. The Task Force recognizes that everyone has a stake in transforming DC into an even better place to grow up and grow old, based on the ten domains. The effort deserves block-by-block attention.
DC is one of 20 cities in the AARP network participating in the Age-Friendly Communities initiative where states work with local and state government to ensure cities are meeting the needs of diverse populations. The other cities are: Fayetteville, AR; Macon-Bibb County, GA; Honolulu, HI; Des Moines, IA; Wichita, KS; Auburn Hills, MI; St. Louis County, MO; New York City, Westchester County, Chemung County, Brookhaven, Elmira, and Great Neck Plaza, Suffolk County, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; Austin, San Antonio, TX and; Newport, VT
The WHO’s Age-Friendly Community concept closely aligns with AARP’s livable communities policies and initiatives. AARP Livable Communities work supports the efforts of communities to become “great places for all ages.” AARP believes that communities should provide safe walkable streets, better housing and transportation options, access to key services, and opportunities for residents to participate in community activities.