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Director's Message

June 2013 - Age Friendly Communities

I recently read an interesting report, the Community AGEnda, funded by Grantmakers in Aging, about the work that is being done across the U.S. to create age-friendly communities. What does it take to make a community a good place to grow old? How does Princeton fare as an age-friendly community? As our concept of aging is rapidly evolving, I believe it is time to explore these questions.

 Many communities are unprepared to meet the needs of a rapidly growing older population, yet major changes are under way. It is anticipated that the population of people over age 65 will double by 2030. A significant majority (87%) of people state that they want to remain in their own homes, although many have dementia and chronic illnesses. Boomers have different expectations about aging, housing, work and recreation than their parents did. We know that community-based care is less costly than institutional care (thanks to family caregivers!). Many have not saved enough for their retirement years and public funding is shrinking. These sobering facts have enormous implications for our communities. We need to be seeking new, creative, progressive ways to meet these challenges. The Community AGEnda reports that “thought leaders now believe that the communities that fare best in the 21st century will be those that both tackle the challenges and embrace the positive possibilities that an aging population creates.” (Community AGEnda, April 2013)

The report identifies several issues that contribute to age-friendly communities:

Municipal and regional planning, with an emphasis on community and older adult input;
Housing and other building design, particularly affordable, adaptive/accessible housing and multi-generational options;
Social services, including meal delivery, adult day programs, and caregiver support, with a focus on meeting the changing needs of the frail, disabled, and homebound older people;
Transportation projects, including increased public transit and free or reduced-cost taxis and other rides, and promoting walkability and accessibility;
Health promotion, including community activities to enhance wellness and greater access to health, mental health, and home health care;
Civic engagement efforts, including intergenerational initiatives and opportunities for meaningful volunteering and paid work that benefit older people and people of all ages; and
Efforts to promote access to information, including an effective communication system reaching community residents of all ages and focusing on oral and printed communication accessible to older people.

I imagine you share my impression that Princeton does rather well on many of these issues and should meet the criteria for AARP’s “Livable Communities” and the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities (GNAFCC). There are also areas I think we could improve, such as ensuring that these services are accessible to the diversity of this community.

The communities that are working toward being age-friendly share an “expressed desire to create places that support older adults and their families better, and enable older people to remain active, contributing members of their communities.” An age-friendly community benefits everyone. We need to re-think aging, recognizing that most older adults live healthy, active lives. They share their wisdom and time, building social capital. Promoting healthy lifestyles is important at any age, and many of the benefits of age-friendly communities improve quality of life for everyone.

 

We’ve seen various innovative initiatives that are part of this movement and which have spread nation-wide, including the Village to Village Network started in Beacon Hill, Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (Jewish Federation), AARP Livable Communities, among others. WHO provided critical leadership with its Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities (GNAFCC).

 

What would it take to become a part of this network? First, it requires bringing together interested parties from non-profit organizations, government, community groups, planners and creative individuals of all ages. It might include conducting the AdvantAge Initiative survey and/or collaboration with funders and an established network. This core group would develop a vision that fits Princeton, engage those who need to be involved to achieve key objectives, and ensure sustainability over time.

 

A group of people from throughout Princeton met in 1996 at Future Search to engage in a similar process around aging issues. Their efforts contributed to the formation of Community Without Walls and the Elderlife Council, the revival of Crosstown transportation, expansion of low-income housing, and several initiatives at PSRC. Nearly 20 years later, it is time to do this again.

 

If you would like to be involved, let me know. To read the report, go to http://www.who.int/ageing/age_friendly_cities_guide/en/index.html.

 

Susan W. Hoskins LCSW

 

 

Previous Messages

Cues & Clues

Recharging

GrandPals Celebrate 20 Years!

Multi-generational Households

No One Ages Well Alone

Help at Home

Gratitude

November 2016 Family Caregiving

October 2016 Annual Report

September 2016 Corporate Healthcare

Strategic Planning

Is Your Home Age- Friendly?

May 2016 Director's Message Part 2 - We Need Your Help

May 2016 - Part 1 - Going Solo

April 2016 - Volunteering

March 2016 - Partners In Caring

February 2016 - PSRC's Strategic Plan

January 2016 - Hope

December 2015 - Gratitude

November 2015 - Helicopter Children

October 2015 - Is Princeton An Age Friendly Community?

September 2015 - Annual Report

July & August 2015 - Family and Community

June 2015 - A Gift that Keeps Giving

May 2015 60 Is the New 60

April 2015 - Spring

March 2015 - Being Mortal

February 2015 - Mentoring

January 2015 - Winter Blues

December 2014 - Leaving A Legacy

October 2014 An Age Friendly Future

September 2014 Annual Report

July - August 2014

June 2014 - Romance After 50

May 2014 - Your Virtual Estate

April 2014 - Memory and Forgetting

March 2014 - Aging in Community

Observational Stay

February 2014 - Family Caregiving

January 2014 - Attitudes about Aging

December 2013 - Giving

November 2013 - Healthcare Marketplace

October 2013 - Annual Report 2013

September 2013 - Total Brain Health® Fair

July - August 2013 My cat, My Father and Me

June 2013 - Age Friendly Communities

May 2013 - Navigating a Changing HealthCare Landscape

April 2013 - Becoming Visible

March 2013 - Navigating Life’s Transitions

February 2013 - Partners in Caring Princeton

January 2013 - Men as Caregivers

December 2012 - The Safety Net

November 2012 - Going Solo

October 2012 - Documenting Your History

September 2012 - A Journey of Transformation

July - August 2012 - Gratitude & Moving

June 2012 - Diversity

May 2012- Aging in America

APRIL 2012 - TEN YEARS

March 2012 - Patient-centered Care

February 2012 - Can you Spare an Hour?

January 2012 - Challenges & Opportunities

December - Are you Prepared for Emergencies?

November - We need YOU!

October - Chocolate for Memory

September- Looking Back and Looking Forward

July - August 2011; Ageism

June 2011 - Accessibility

May 2011 - Paper retention

Knit Wits, April 2011

Lessons and Legacies, March 2011

Independent Living February 2011

Home Safety January 2011

Witness to my Life December 2010

Elections, benefits and open enrollment November 2010

Retire in 3D!

Strategic Planning September 2010

Am I Old? July 2010

Memory Clutter June 2010

Aging In America May 2010

Volunteering April 2010

Spirituality March 2010

Estate Planning February 2010

Encore Careers January 2010

Hiring Home Care December 2009

Annual Giving by Sharon Naeole November 2009

Flu Pandemic 2009 October 2009

Healthy Memory, Healthy Mind September 2009

A Personal Perspective on Caregiving July/August 2009

TRANSPORTATION May 2009

Wei Ji: Crisis, Danger and Opportunity April 2009

Write your own obituary March 2009

Hobbies February 2009

Hope and Vision in Challenging Times
January 2009

Medicare Changes 2008: Take A Look! December 2008

Scams, Frauds and Rip-offs November 2008

Engaged Retirement: Beyond Financial Planning October 2008

September 2008 Caregiver Dilemmas

Finding Rhythm and Purpose July/August 2008

Spring Cleaning II June 2008

V + OA = ER (Volunteering + Older Americans=Engaged Retirement)May 2008

Spring Cleaning April 2008

Have You Had the Talk Yet? March 2008

Get Moving with FitRhythms™! February 2008

My Condolences January 2008

Advocacy December 2007

What Are Social Services? November 2007

Sensitive Topics October 2007

Plan for the Future September 2007

The Up-side of Aging Summer 2007

Volunteering June 2007

Strategic Plan May 2007

National Conference on Aging: Let's ReThink Aging April 2007

Brain Health March 2007

Resiliency February 2007

Transportation January 2007

Season of Giving December 2006

Medicare Part D November 2006

April Hill McElroy October 2006

Civic Engagement September 2006

Change June 2006

White House Conference on Aging May 2006

Hearing Loss April 2006

GrandPals March 2006

Lets Talk February 2006

Eldertopia January 2006

Hoarding December 2005

Annual Report: November 2005

Are You Prepared? October 2005

Planning Ahead October 2005

Watch Your Language September 2005

Medicare Part D Summer 2005

Sue Tillett June 2005

The End of the Journey May 2005

Clutter March 2005

New Dietary Guidelines February 2005

Transitions January 2005

Funding December 2004

Caregiving November 2004

Civic Engagement with GrandPals October 2004

A New Look September 2004

Safe Driving Summer 2004

Food Safety June 2004

Communication June 2004

The Challenge of Giving Care May 2004

Seniors On The Move April 2004

Depression March 2004

McGreevey February 2004

Medications January 2004

Random Acts of Kindness December 2003

Civic Engagement November 2003

Reverse Mortgages Oct 2003

Emergency Preparedness, Jan 2003


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