San Mateo County Embraces Age-Friendly Cities Concept
By: David J. Canepa San Mateo County District 5 Supervisor, firstname.lastname@example.org, 650-363-4572
San Mateo County cities are about to embark on a grand journey to help our older adults lead happier, more fulfilling and productive lives. More than ever before, older Americans are working longer, trying new things and engaging in their communities. I want to continue this trend to ensure our older adults can age in place, are healthy and safe.
The Board of Supervisors approved a resolution that I co-sponsored in July to join the World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly Global Network and establish the San Mateo County Age Friendly Initiative to be administered by the Health System’s Aging and Adult Services division.
The concept of Global Age-Friendly Cities was developed in 2005 by WHO to help cities consider and implement policies and services to support older adults as they grow older to live healthy and vibrant lives. Population aging and urbanization are two global trends that together comprise major forces shaping the 21st Century, according to WHO.
WHO has identified eight key domains as areas requiring a conscious effort to create an age-friendly community: housing, transportation, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, community support and health services, and outdoor spaces and buildings.
The process to be designated and an Age-Friendly City/Community has included identifying a task force with various stakeholders to oversee the process; conduct a series of focus groups to assess the baseline “Age-Friendliness” of a city or community in the domains mentioned above; review the results of the focus groups and survey results; identify indicators so progress can be monitored against the action plan; and complete the Age-Friendly application and include a letter of intent signed by the mayor of the city.
The Health System will contract with the Center for Age-Friendly Excellence, which spearheaded the campaign in Santa Clara County, to conduct the campaign in San Mateo County. The first phase of the project will include working with Redwood City, Pacifica and Daly City officials on earning the WHO designation.
While seeking the designation, projects will be identified that will improve the lives of our aging population such as pedestrian and parks improvements and increased opportunities for civic engagement.
David J. Canepa serves District 5 on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors