Santa Clara County officially announced their enrollment in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, making them the 44th community in California to enroll in AARP’s network. This news comes as May, Older Americans Month, comes to an end and we recognize the dramatic impact that the COVID-19 health crisis has on older adults and the need to ensure we have the adequate services and resources to serve this population.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Santa Clara County residents age 60 and older is projected to reach 26.3% of the total population by 2030. By joining AARP’s network, the county is taking another step toward meeting the needs and preferences of its aging population to ensure they are safe, have access to information, adequate health services and more.
AARP’s network, an affiliate of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Program, is part of an international campaign to help communities prepare for rapidly aging populations and the parallel trend of urbanization. Santa Clara County was the first county in the US to have all of its 15 cities enrolled in the WHO age-friendly network. By also enrolling in the AARP network, the county will gain access to additional national and global research, community networks, planning models and best practices to improve livability for all ages and abilities.
Santa Clara County’s enrollment in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities marks the next phase of its age-friendly efforts. Since 2011, the Seniors’ Agenda of the Santa Clara County Department of Aging and Adult Services has led the Age-Friendly Silicon Valley Initiative for all 15 cities and the county and collaborated with over 100 community-based organizations and government agencies to improve the lives of older adults through policies. The county will now fully participate in AARP’s livable communities initiative, building on previous efforts to increase access to age-friendly services, resources and information.
“AARP welcomes Santa Clara County to the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities,” stated AARP California State Director, Nancy McPherson. “The county has joined arms with communities around the world to implement innovative strategies that improve livability in the community and involve older residents in the process. Santa Clara County has already made great strides to improve livability and community vibrancy. Now more than ever, their efforts to ensure resources and information are accessible to people of all ages and abilities are vital.”
As a member of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, Santa Clara County commits to identifying the challenges of its aging population and identifying policy and programmatic solutions that will improve the quality of life for all ages in the community – in collaboration with residents and various partners.
People of all ages benefit from the adoption of policies and programs that make neighborhoods walkable, feature safe transportation options, enable access to key services, provide opportunities to participate in community activities, and support housing that is affordable and adaptable. Well-designed, age-friendly communities foster economic growth and make for happier, healthier residents of all ages – an important need during the current crisis.
Nationwide, over 460 communities and five states have received the Age-Friendly designation from AARP. The State of California is now home to 45 network communities, representing over 19 million residents – see the full list of network members HERE.
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