AARP Eye Center
CARY, NC -- To best prepare for a population that is both growing and aging, the Town of Cary, North Carolina, joined the AARP Network of Age Friendly Communities. The announcement was made at the City Council Meeting on November 17. Through the Network, the Town of Cary will receive both technical assistance and shared expertise to help develop changes to support people of all ages.
Wake County is the state’s fastest growing with 243,000 more residents in the county between 2010 and 2021. Town officials have joined the Network to ensure that civic improvements benefit the very old, the very young, and everyone in between.
“Although the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities program is recognized by elected officials and others as a leading resource for how to improve the livability of communities for people age 50 or older and their families, age-friendly improvements benefit people of all ages,” said AARP North Carolina Director Michael Olender.
A city, town or rural area that is “age-friendly,” is one that helps people live easily and comfortably in their homes and communities as they age. That means access to affordable housing, transportation options, health care, opportunities for social engagement, the ability to walk and bike and much more.
The AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities helps local leaders meet the needs of their community's older adults and prepare for the rapid aging of the U.S. population. (By 2034, America will have more adults age 65 or older than children under 18.) Membership provides elected officials, policymakers and community volunteers with peer support and access to experts and best practices
Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht explains, “Joining the AARP Network of Age Friendly Communities is another step in our continual outreach to inform citizens of what is available, but to also get feedback as to what else needs to be done.”
One area of immediate focus in Cary is housing. The Town has released its most recent housing plan that focuses heavily on senior housing. The plan drives collaboration between the planning, programming and facilities management to encourage, find and expand opportunities for seniors to obtain affordable housing.
AARP has been a catalyst across North Carolina when it comes to easing restrictions to better enable housing options including Accessory Dwelling Units.
Among other priorities, the Town is working to make its facilities including its Senior Center more accessible to older adults as well as those with disabilities. It is also working to make transportation options like GoCary more widely available.
Cary joins a number of cities, towns and counties in the state that are current members of the AARP Network including Wake, Durham and Orange Counties and the city of Durham. Not only will Cary benefit from the shared resources and expertise of those areas, but from that of over 665 communities nationwide that are part of the Network.
Michael Olender adds, “Cary’s enrollment in the Age-Friendly Network is yet another way the Town is working to provide safe, walkable streets; age-friendly housing and transportation options; access to needed services; and opportunities for residents of all ages to participate in community life.”