Age-Friendly NYC Livability Solutions Forum

By Dominic Lee and Shahnaz Radjy

The Mayor joined experts to discuss NYC standard of living and Age-friendly policies

Today, AARP released newly-synthesized data from its LivabilityIndex—a new tool that illustrates the challenges and opportunities of making New York and other communities more supportive of aging populations—at a forum featuring the Mayor and other key city officials. The event focused on public and private-sector efforts underway to make the social, economic and built environment more inclusive of older New Yorkers. NYC is among the top five “Most Livable Cities” among the nation’s large cities, according to the AARP Livability Index.

High-level elected and appointed officials, as well as expert response panels representing the public, private, and non-profit sectors, highlighted current and future Age-friendly NYC efforts to improve the City’s built economic, and social environment using feedback from older people.

“AARP is a strong partner in our effort to build more affordable housing for our seniors, and I am so proud to have their support for our reforms,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are a growing city and an aging city. It is good for New York Citythat our seniors are staying here, but that means we need policies to make neighborhoods safer, more accessible and more livable for our elders. The Livability Index is a powerful new tool that will help us replicate what’s working, and fill in the gaps so every neighborhood is an inclusive place for seniors.”

“The AARP Livability Index is a new online tool for checking the livability score of any location in the U.S. — and for finding and creating communities that benefit people of all ages,” said Jana Lynott, AARP Senior Strategic Policy Adviser, today at the Cornell Club.

“As a member of the Age-friendly NYC Commission, I’m excited to continue the work to make New York City more inclusive for all New Yorkers,” said Beth Finkel, State Director of AARP in New York State.  “New York City is known as a great city for many reasons, and many of its best features make it attractive to people who are 50-plus.”

“The New York Academy of Medicine is honored to continue to serve as the Secretariat of Age-friendly NYC. New York City’s high score on AARP’s new Livability Index is a testament to the success of Age-friendly NYC’s one-of-a-kind partnership with the Mayor’s Office and the City Council,” said Jo Ivey Boufford, MD, President of the Academy.

“Since 2008, we’ve worked to bring about demonstrable changes in city neighborhoods in direct response to feedback from thousands of older people—including 1,500 new benches, 4,000 new bus shelters, and a 9 percent reduction in senior pedestrian fatalities, and senior swim hours at 16 public pools. With the Mayor’s recent reconvening of the Age-friendly NYC Commission, under the leadership of Ed Lewis, the founder of Essence Communications, and Audrey Weiner, the CEO of The New Jewish Home, we look forward to developing new, creative solutions to the challenges older New Yorkers continue to face in New York City,” Boufford said.

“The Livability Index allows us to see how we can plan for the needs our residents who want to stay here as they age and AARP New York will be here working at the local level to ensure New York remains one of the best cities to live, work and play for people 50 and over,” stated Leo Asen, President, AARP New York.

The private sector response panel discussed efforts underway to create age-friendly local businesses using Bed-Stuy as a case study; the response of architects and planners; a capital project with the New York City Housing Authority to redesign the entire first floor of a building on the Upper West Side using age-friendly design principles; and age-friendly workplace policy in the corporate sector.

“On behalf of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Ageing, we applaud New York City’s commitment to improve the health and well-being of older people and maximize their economic participation as well as their potential as employers, employees, and consumers,” stated Derek Yach, Chief Health Officer, The Vitality Group, Chair Global Agenda Council on Ageing. “We convened the New York City Advisory Alliance as a forum to leverage New York City’s experience to inform a global strategy for social and business environments to capitalize on the opportunities of a rapidly growing older population and the ‘silver economy’. This convening will present innovative models that can be replicated in communities large and small around the world,” added Yach.

The forum was organized by AARP New York, The New York Academy of Medicine, and The World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Ageing.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse.

The New York Academy of Medicine advances solutions that promote the health and well-being of people in cities worldwide. Our current priorities are healthy aging, disease prevention, and eliminating health disparities.

The World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Ageing, chaired by Derek Yach, explores how stakeholders across sectors and geographies can capitalize on the economic opportunities presented by an ageing population and encourage business and governments to adopt age-friendly practices; longevity by design; and the nexus between cognition, banking, and fraud.

The New York City Advisory Alliance – comprised of the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, the Global Coalition On Aging, Mercer, the New York Academy of Medicine, the Vitality Institute, and the World Economic Forum – are hosting a series of New York based events to inform this work. This event is part of that series.


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