Seventeen local and state organizations and agencies came to SourcePoint in early February to learn more about the international effort led locally by SourcePoint in collaboration with the Delaware General Health District. The purpose of the initiative is to help cities and communities prepare for two global demographic trends — the rapid aging of populations and increasing urbanization, according to Fara Waugh, director of client services at SourcePoint.
“We are pleased by the interest of our stakeholders and hope that others will join our efforts as we move forward to make Delaware County an age-friendly community,” Waugh said. “By achieving this designation by 2023, we not only will learn what people need and expect from local government, but we will be well on our way to becoming a more desirable place for people of all ages to live and work.”
Late last year, the Delaware County Commissioners passed a resolution to join the network of age-friendly cities and communities by encouraging active, healthy aging to improve the quality of life of the county’s older residents. Age-friendly or livable communities have walkable streets, housing and transportation options, access to key services, and opportunities for residents of all ages to participate in community activities.
“The population of Delaware County is growing at a phenomenal rate, and the growth of our older population is growing even faster,” Waugh said. “From the year 2000 to 2010, Delaware County’s 55-and-over population doubled from about 18,000 to just over 36,000. By 2020, this same age group is projected to grow another 62 percent to nearly 59,000 residents, and then an additional 40 percent to more than 82,000 by 2030. It’s important that Delaware County is in the position of recognizing and mobilizing the talents and skills of our older residents, as well as addressing some of the needs that they and their families present.”
The Age-Friendly Project, an initiative of the World Health Organization and spearheaded by AARP in America, will take five years to complete. The process begins with an extensive assessment administered by the health district starting in May, in which the community’s assessment of Delaware County’s strengths and weaknesses are identified in relation to eight domains of a livable community as identified by the World Health Organization.
The domains include outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, and community support and health services.
“We are now forming an advisory group of interested stakeholders to provide guidance and feedback on the survey process and the resulting reports,” Waugh said. “After assessing the results of the survey, the Age-Friendly Advisory Committee will present recommendations for action to local leaders.”
For more information about the Age-Friendly Project in Delaware County, contact Amelia Tucciarone, quality improvement supervisor at SourcePoint, at amelia@MySourcePoint.org or 740-203-2392.
SourcePoint is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that provides professional expertise, services, and programs for Delaware County adults who want to thrive after 55. Services and programs are supported in part by the local senior services levy, corporate and private donations, sponsorships, grants, and by the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging. SourcePoint is a United Way agency.
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