On December 11, 2019, five members of the Age-friendly Northfield steering committee represented Northfield at a Summit sponsored by MN Leadership Council on Aging. The summit brought together leaders in older adult services from around the state.
Highlights of the summit included Governor Walz signing an Executive Order 19-38, committing to a future more responsive to the needs of our aging population benefitting people of all ages. The Order sets the course for our state to join the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States & Communities and establishes the Governor’s Council on an Age-Friendly Minnesota.
The Council will include nine state agencies and boards, and up to six at-large members with desired representation by caregivers, businesses, tribal communities, local governments and older citizens.
Once formed, the Council will create a preliminary plan and legislative recommendations due August 15, 2020, then a final plan including recommendations for enacted legislation by the end of 2021. The Order does authorize the establishment of an ongoing “Age-Friendly Board” to operate beyond the original Council’s term.
“Minnesota has been doing a lot of good work across many different agencies, but we haven’t had the mechanism to pull it together and prioritize it across the board,” said Kari Benson, executive director of the Minnesota Board on Aging. ”That’s key, we need to connect that work and really raise the profile.”
“This is a universally shared value,” Walz said. “It’s a universally understood point that our state is much better socially and economically if we get this right.”
Minnesota Members of the AARP network of Age-Friendly cities include Northfield, Minneapolis, Maple Grove, Alexandria and Hennepin County.