Highlighting Asheville

City of Brevard joins the AARP Age-Friendly Network

Posted on 04/18/24 by Sara Knapp

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BREVARD, NC — The title, "Age Friendly Brevard” sounds like it was meant to be, and it came together so easily.

Brevard Mayor Maureen Copelof first learned of AARP’s Age Friendly Network of States and Communities in a conversation with gerontologist Paula Hartman-Stein. The next day, AARP volunteer Kay Argroves independently called the Mayor to discuss what it would mean to be "age friendly." Three months later, Brevard gained designation as

AARP’s 865th Age Friendly Community.

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Brevard has a strong track record of enacting policies and initiatives focused on improving livability for residents of all ages, and particularly older adults. Between 2000 and 2020 the median age of Brevard residents grew from 45 to 53. In 2023, 31% of its population was over age 65.

Mayor Copelof explained, “Older residents are not just a significant percentage of our community but a vital and active part of what makes Brevard special.”

The initial objectives for Brevard’s Age Friendly initiative include expansion of housing opportunities, enhancement of pedestrian and bicycle paths, improved accessibility downtown, and active involvement of older adults in city planning processes.

Mayor Copelof is a true champion for Age Friendly Brevard, and Dr. Hartman-Stein has agreed to lead the volunteer-based initiative. They are already working to coordinate community listening sessions and have created a survey to gather information about the experience of Brevard’s older residents. The momentum is palpable.

 
Brevard’s Journey to Becoming an Age Friendly Community

Late 2023: Mayor Copelof learns of the Age Friendly Network

January 10: AARP Mountain Region representatives meet with Mayor Copelof

January 27: Mayor Copelof announces the prospect of the Age Friendly initiative at an Age Exchange Forum. Eleven volunteers sign up to participate.

February 19: Brevard City Council unanimously approves a resolution to apply for AARP Age-Friendly designation.

February 26: Mayor Copelof submits application for Age Friendly designation to AARP.

February 27: AARP approves Age Friendly designation for Brevard.

April 1: Rebecca Chaplin presents the Age Friendly certification to the Brevard City Council.

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