Help Us Build an Age-friendly Austin

In September 2015, Austin’s Commission on Seniors formed a working group comprised of members of the Commission, AARP, AustinUP as well as local and regional service organizations, to bring to fruition recommendations from the Mayor’s Task Force on Aging, including the development of an Action Plan to transform Austin into an Age-friendly City. This working group has met weekly to outline a five-year plan, and identify goals and strategies. Before we move forward with the next phase – communication with City leaders – we would like to hear feedback from the community about the plan and the goals we have identified. This is your opportunity to tell us what you like – and what we missed. Working with AARP, we have scheduled three free community events in April and May. (See dates below.) We hope that you can join us at one of these sessions to add your voice to this process. 

Background
In developing the Action Plan, the working group is reviewing existing systems to support Austin’s senior population and identifying where there are gaps, both in relation to the Task Force recommendations and the AARP/World Health Organization’s Eight Domains of Livability:

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

The Mayor’s Task Force on Aging convened by Mayor Lee Leffingwell in 2012  recommended that Austin be designated an “age-friendly” community under the  AARP Network of Age-friendly Communities, an affiliate of the World Health Organization’s Age-friendly Cities and Communities Program. The recommendation was a clear recognition that  Central Texas was, and remains today, among the fastest-growing areas for  people between 55 and 64, and has the second fastest-growing population of people 65 and over.

Since 2012, important accomplishments have been achieved  as a result of the work of the Task Force, including the formation of Austin’s Commission on Seniors and AustinUP. Austin, however, lacks a plan for accomplishing several recommendations outlined in the final Task Force report. Consequently, Austin currently is at risk of losing its age-friendly designation and is lagging behind other U.S. cities.

Goal
The goal is for the working group to perform an assessment, outline goals and strategies, gather input from the community, and present the plan to Mayor Adler and the entire City Council.

What is an age-friendly community?
Our partners in the network of age-friendly communities are challenging Austin to do more to prepare for the rapid aging of the U.S. population:

  • Recognize the wide range of capacities and resources among older people
  • Anticipate and respond flexibly to aging-related needs and preferences
  • Respect older persons’ decisions and lifestyle choices
  • Protect those who are most vulnerable; and
  • Promote older persons’ inclusion in and contribution to all areas of community life

Resources
Best practices and strategies for age-friendly communities
Mayor’s Task Force on Aging: Report
Mayor’s Task Force on Aging: Recommendations

Community input
Join us at one of these free events. Come and go at your convenience, but allow at least 30 minutes to participate.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Anderson Mill Limited District
11500 El Salido Parkway, Austin, TX 78750

Wednesday, April 27, 2016
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Gus Garcia Recreation Center Gymnasium
1201 East Rundberg Lane, Austin, TX 78753

Tuesday, May 3, 2016
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Austin American Statesman, Third Floor Conference Room
305 South Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78704

Please RSVP at https://aarp.cvent.com/AgeFriendlyATX or 1-877-926-8300. RSVP preferred, but not required.

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