Communities Michigan Part of New Network
By Rene Rosencrantz Wheaton
Y ou don’t have to tell anyone who’s woken up with
sore joints or had to hold a paper at arm-length
to read it, that growing old isn’t easy. While the
Association for the Advancement of Retired People
(AARP) can’t stop the clock, the organization is working
to make aging easier on everyone starting at the local
level. The AARP, in affiliation with the World Health
Organization (WHO), has launched the AARP Network
of Age-Friendly Communities across the U.S., including
pilot programs in Michigan, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, New
York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.
“As communities become more age-friendly, people of
all ages will find them appealing,” said AARP Executive
Vice President Nancy LeaMond. “Not only older people,
but mothers with strollers and ex joggers with knee
problems will welcome crosswalks with countdown
clocks and mid-crossing safe havens. You shouldn’t have
to be a former Olympic sprinter to get across the street
before the light changes.”
The AARP will help government officials, businesses,
and community leaders jump-start their efforts to
make neighborhoods ready for aging baby boomers.
The goal is to provide physical and social environ-
ments for the seniors that will help them remain
healthy, active, and engaged in their communities.
As communities become more
age-friendly, people of all ages
will find them appealing.
12 THE REVIEW
The effort will specifically address the ongoing,
global trends of rapid population aging and increasing
urbanization. For example, Scottsdale City, Arizona is
considered the U.S.’s oldest city, with one in five of their
residents falling in the 65 and older age bracket. By
2030, the entire country will resemble Scottsdale City.
WHO and AARP want to help communities face their
aging populations with forward-thinking public policies
and urban planning. Making these proactive efforts can
help communities attract and retain more residents as
well as businesses seeking to serve older populations,
their families, and caregivers.
Auburn Hills and Ann Arbor are the first Michigan
cities in the program. These cities, and others like
them, will be looking at a variety of things to improve
the quality of life in their communities. Continued on page 14