June 10-16, 2019
By Nan Selz
Executive Council, AARP Arkansas
Little Rock becomes an age-friendly community
Recently, Little Rock’s mayor committed the city to join the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities. The mayor plans to create a commission to oversee this multi-faceted initiative. Little Rock is the second city in the state to join, the other is Fayetteville. AARP’s network is based on the World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly Cities model.
Age-friendly communities, also known as livable communities, offer an environment designed to enhance the ability of all residents to remain independent and actively engaged in community life, regardless of age or disability.
Livable Communities strive for the following characteristics:
– Safe, appropriate, decent, affordable, and accessible housing
– Comprehensive mobility options, including alternatives to driving
– Access to healthy food
– Opportunities for walking, biking and exercise
– Connections to health facilities and related services
– A physical environment that improves and protects resident’s health
– Community-wide safety and security initiatives
– Community activities that promote neighborhood cohesion
– Community planning that engages all residents
Age-friendly or livable communities have walk-able streets, accessible, affordable housing, a range of transportation options, access to key products and services, and opportunities for all residents to participate in community activities.
The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double from 46 million in 2016 to over 98 million by 2060. Their share of the total population will rise to almost 24 percent from 15 percent. The AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities encourages states, cities, towns and counties to prepare for this trend by paying increased attention to the environmental, economic and social factors that influence the health and wellbeing of older adults. Thereby, these communities become great places to live and lifelong homes for people of all ages.
For more information about Age-Friendly Communities, go to https://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/network-age-friendly-communities/.