On Monday 14 December 2015, a myriad stakeholders in aging policy convened around the release of the AARP Livability Index. The meeting was opened by Derek Yach in his role as the Chair of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Agenda Council on Ageing, and featured a number of policymakers both from New York City and nationally. The event was co-hosted by the WEF, the New York Academy of Medicine, and AARP.
According to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who spoke at the event, almost one in five New Yorkers is over the age of 60; by 2020, New York Citys senior population will equal current-day Chicagos total population. Mayor de Blasio also stated that seniors currently account for a fifth of the citys workforce, and that the age group provides the most hours of volunteer service. Given these statistics, it is more necessary than ever for our cities to accommodate elders and their needs, from affordable housing and access to jobs to elder-friendly transportation options.
The AARP Livability Index provides policy makers and planners with the ability to address these needs and create better cities for seniors. The Index ranks cities down to a neighborhood level, using a comprehensive set of fifty metrics to measure the quality of life provided for seniors. This provides a platform to identify best practices as well as potential gaps. Data is measured across housing, neighborhood, health, environment, transportation, opportunity, and engagement. In measuring so many variables, the Index helps show the interconnectivity of so many aspects on senior life, and exemplifies the impact of diverse groups working together to improve living conditions.
The event highlighted the efforts of the AARP in crafting the Index, and illustrated plans for improving senior living. Examples included removing fence barriers from parks so that seniors had more places to rest, as well as continuing New Yorks lauded Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption Program, which limits rent increases for seniors below a certain income level. These initiatives overlap with the work of the WEF Global Agenda Council on Ageing, including efforts to realize the economic potential of senior workplace inclusion and highlight greater connectivity between employees, employers, and communities.
Moving forward, New York City currently ranked 5th will continue to be an example of an age-friendly city. With continued focus and effort, cities across the US and globally can become places where elder persons can work, contribute, and enjoy the places they know and love.
Do you know other cities developing initiatives for seniors? How do seniors you know enjoy living in your city? Do you know of any other organizations promoting unlikely partnerships to improve senior living? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting at @VitalityUSA.
Source of image: GIAgeing