Watch the Age-friendly Austin News Conference

Austin City Council Adopts Age-friendly Austin Plan;
Promotes Age-friendly Presentation as Part of Imagine Austin Speaker Series

(Wednesday, November 16, 2016) – The Austin City Council, at its November 3 meeting, voted to adopt the Age-friendly Austin Plan and actively promote and work toward Austin becoming more age-friendly in support of our city’s current and future older adults.

A working group of community members created by Austin’s Commission on Seniors developed the Age-friendly Austin Plan. Sally Van Sickle, who represents District 9 on the Commission on Seniors, said, “Austin has always been considered a young, vibrant and innovative city. Approval of this Age-friendly Austin Plan will help us maintain that reputation as vibrant and innovative even as our median age moves upward.”

The working group reviewed existing systems to support Austin’s senior population and identified where there are gaps, both in relation to the Mayor’s Task Force on Aging (2012-13) recommendations and the AARP/World Health Organization’s Eight Domains of Livability, which include:

  1. Outdoor spaces and buildings
  2. Transportation
  3. Housing
  4. Social participation
  5. Respect and social inclusion
  6. Civic participation and employment
  7. Communication and information
  8. Community support and health services

“By adopting an Age-friendly Austin Action Plan, the City Council is helping Austin take an innovative step in an ongoing effort toward meeting the needs of Austinites of all ages,” said Jessica Lemann, associate state director of AARP Texas. “The plan will encourage active aging and help to enhance the older adults’ quality of life in Central Texas.”

The group also identified key areas of overlap with the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan and will work with the City Council and Imagine Austin staff members toward implementation. The Imagine Austin Speaker Series event on Thursday, November 17, 2016, titled “An Age-Friendly Austin: Supporting Vibrant Intergenerational Communities,” will help explain the issues. Event details below.

Imagine Austin Speaker Series Event: An Age-Friendly Austin: Supporting Vibrant Intergenerational Communities

Date: Thursday, November 17, 2016

Time: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Location: Thompson Conference Center at the University of Texas, 2405 Robert Dedman Drive, Austin, TX 78712
Free parking available on the corner of Dean Keeton and Robert Dedman. CapMetro routes 10, 20 and 37 stop within a short walk of the event venue.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines aging in place as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.” As the U.S. population ages, communities are not prepared for the needs of an aging population. In an effort to address this urgent problem, AARP has developed a multifaceted Livability Index, a ground-breaking tool to jumpstart community conversations about livability and encourage action by residents and policymakers alike.

Speaker Jana Lynott, AICP, MA, will present synthesized data using this Livability Index to illustrate challenges and opportunities for Austin’s aging population. Local experts Council Member Ann Kitchen, Dr. Philip Huang – Medical Director at Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department, and Dr. Erica Garcia-Pittman of the Commission on Seniors will respond to the index scores and discuss how the Age-Friendly Action Plan and Imagine Austin are offering solutions to index data and what else is needed to advance Austin as an Age-Friendly Community. The forum will be moderated by AustinUp Board Member Arnold Garcia.

Ms. Lynott is a Senior Strategic Policy Advisor at the AARP Policy Institute. She was responsible for the development of the Livability Index and manages AARP’s transportation research agenda and deals with policy related to transportation and livable community issues.

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