Goffstown, Portsmouth join age-friendly network
Communities become first in state involved in AARP initiative
The town of Goffstown and the city of Portsmouth have become the inaugural members in New Hampshire of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, the organization has announced.
The network is designed to help participating communities focus on improving livability for people of all ages by adopting features such as safe, walkable streets, better housing and transportation options, access to key services and opportunities for residents to participate in civic and community activities.
“Well-designed, livable communities promote well-being, sustain economic growth and make for happier healthier residents of all ages,” said AARP New Hampshire State Director Todd Fahey. “By becoming part of the network, Goffstown and Portsmouth are making a commitment to do even more to improve livability in their communities and involve older residents in the process.”
He said communities participating in the network commit to improving their livability through an assessment of needs, development of an action plan, implementation of new projects and programs, and ongoing assessment – all with the involvement of older residents.
There are eight areas of focus in the age-friendly process:
1. Outdoor spaces and buildings: Availability of safe and accessible recreational facilities.
2. Transportation: Safe and affordable models of private and public transportation.
3. Housing:Availability of home modification programs for aging in place as well as a range of age-friendly housing options.
4. Social participation:Access to leisure and cultural activities, including opportunities for older residents to socialize and engage with their peers as well as with younger people.
5. Respect and social inclusion:Programs that promote ethnic and cultural diversity as well as multigenerational interaction and dialogue.
6. Civic participation and employment:Paid work and volunteer activities for older residents and opportunities to engage in the formulation of policies relevant to their lives.
7. Communication and information:Access to communications technology and other resources so older residents can connect with their community, friends and family.
8. Community support and health services: Access to home-based care services, health clinics and programs that promote wellness and active aging.
The livability indicators are planned, implemented and progress assessed in three phases over a five-year period, with continued cycles of assessment and improvement thereafter, he said.
Nationwide, 263 communities representing 70 million residents have received the Age-Friendly designation from AARP.