Alachua County has joined the “Age-Friendly Initiative,” a network of more than 847 cities and communities in 41 countries, working to improve their physical and social environments to become better places in which to grow old.
The designation, approved by AARP, makes Alachua County one of more than 384 Age-Friendly Communities across the United States. In April of 2019, the State of Florida was designated as the Fourth Age-Friendly State in the United States. There are also currently 33 Age-Friendly designated communities in Florida.
“We are proud that Alachua County has been certified as an Age-Friendly Community by AARP,” said Elder Options Executive Director Kristen Griffis. “An Age-Friendly Community benefits all ages and abilities and provides a great place for individuals to grow up and grow old in. It is important to recognize that the economic, social and physical environments in our community affect how we age.”
Age-Friendly Communities strive to promote active, happy and healthy lifestyles for people of all ages through interconnected “Domains of Livability,” which include outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, community support, and health services.
The AARP Network of Age-friendly Cities and is an affiliate of the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities. Other Age-Friendly Communities have successfully researched, designated and implemented intergenerational approaches to make life better for their residents, including enhancements like additional seating for older riders on public transit, housing for older residents located in close proximity to services and amenities, using younger residents to provide technology training sessions for seniors, and training for family caregivers.
After officially joining the network, the Initiative implemented its next phase with a survey and research phase that will inform on the finalization of an Action Plan for continued Age-Friendly efforts in the County.