Age-Friendly New York + World Health Organization

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Have you read and utilized the terrific resource “Creating an Age-Friendly NYC One Neighborhood at a Time”?

Created by the New York Academy of Medicine, the Office of the Mayor, and the New York City Council, this document explains the rationale of intentionally planning, designing, and implementing physical and programmatic features to enable the seniors of NYC to thrive.   Some interesting points:

did you know that from 2007-2020, the NYC population age 60+ is going to increase by 50%

Look at the chart on pg. 10 and you will see that Native Americans age 50+ will grow by about 48%….and Asian/Pacific Islanders will increase by over 109%.

This document also covers the results of the creation & implementation of 3 pilot Aging Improvement Districts (East Harlem, the Upper West Side, and Bedford-Stuyvesant), and then goes further outlining the process for replication in other areas.

Topics such as transportation, housing, social participation are covered.

Wherever you live:  rural, suburban, urban, and whether your work is in direct services to seniors, aging in place renovations, community planning, etc., take the time to explore this resource.  If you apply it to your work or adapt to your community, please share some details with me about that.

The Age-Friendly New York is an outgrowth of the World Health Organization’s Age Friendly Cities Initiative.  Another wonderful resource is their “Global Age-Friendly Cities” guide.  The result of work in 35 countries on every continent, this 75 page document examines the issues seniors face:

Outdoor spaces and buildings

Transportation

Housing

Social participation

Respect and social inclusion

Civic participation and employment

Communication and information

Community support and health services

including informative quotes from seniors who participated in the focus groups.  At the end of each section on the above issues, is a multi-point checklist for communities to use in evaluating the age-friendliness of their communities and for application in planning.

Here are some interesting excerpts:

“The world is rapidly ageing: the number of people aged 60 and over as a proportion of the global population will double from 11% in 2006 to 22% by 2050. By then, there will be more older people than children (aged 0–14 years) in the population for the first time in human history.”

p. 3

“Older people in particular require supportive and enabling living environments to compensate for physical and social changes associated with ageing. This necessity was recognized as one of the three priority directions of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing endorsed by the United Nations in 2002 (9). Making cities more age-friendly is a necessary and logical response to promote the wellbeing and contributions of older urban residents and keep cities thriving.” p. 4

and the portion which most resonated with me is:

“From an individual and societal perspective, it is important to remember that the speed of decline can be influenced and may be reversible at any age through individual and public policy measures, such as promoting an age-friendly living environment….The operative word in age-friendly social and physical urban settings is enablement.”  p. 6