Welcome to Age Friendly Northfield!
The world’s older population continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. The United States’ 65-and-over population is projected to nearly double over the next three decades, from 48 million to 88 million by 2050. While many older adults are healthier, and more active and independent than ever before, for others, living longer does not necessarily mean living well. Both of these changing demographics will have a dramatic impact on the community structures and services required to meet the needs of an aging population. Cities must prepare today so that current and future seniors will have the support they need to age well in community.
The AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, is an affiliate of the World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Program, an international effort launched in 2006 to help cities prepare for the rapid aging of their populations. Communities in more than 20 nations, as well as 10 affiliates representing more than 1,000 communities, currently participate in the program. AARP’s involvement encourages older adults not only to make their voices heard, but also to take a more active role in their communities.
This AARP Age-Friendly Communities Program is proving to be an effective tool that local leaders can use to transform their cities into intentionally designed communities that are livable for all ages. Program initiatives help communities to assess their strengths and needs in eight designated “Domains of Livability:” Housing, Outdoor Spaces and Buildings, Transportation and Streets, Health and Wellness, Social Participation, Inclusion and Educational Opportunities, Volunteering and Civic Engagement, Job Opportunities, and Community Information. Once identified, communities are better able to secure, coordinate and direct resources to address the most pressing needs of their citizens.
AARP works with local officials and partner organizations around the country to identify communities for membership in the Age-Friendly Network. AARP then facilitates the community’s enrollment, and guides its representatives through the network’s five-year assessment, planning and implementation process. The City of Northfield passed a resolution to apply to become part of the WHO/AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities on August 2, 2016. We were accepted, and in 2017 the Age-Friendly Northfield Advisory Committee, a grass-roots group of Northfield residents, conducted and analyzed the results of a comprehensive survey of seniors living in our community. Our purpose was to learn which of the 8 Domains of Livability Northfielders consider to be most important, which they feel meet their current and projected needs, and which they find lacking.