A Global Push for Local Action on Population Aging
The age-friendly movement was launched by the World Health Organization in 2005, with the mission of developing local strategies to respond to the global challenges and opportunities of our aging population.
Across the globe - and here in the United States and in New Jersey - we are approaching a day when the young will no longer dramatically outnumber the old.
As this U.S. Census Bureau graphic on the left shows, people over age 65 will no longer be at the top of a thinning demographic pyramid. (click on the picture to see the data).
Cities, suburbs and rural towns alike need to find ways to better respond to the needs and desires of all generations. Or what we call becoming "age-friendly"
NJ Communities Respond to the Age-Friendly Call
Surveys show most older New Jerseyans would like to age in their familiar communities. But many live in places better suited to parents of young children who drive mini-vans and want big backyards than they are to older adults who no longer drive and want to downsize.
Many of New Jersey's towns also haven't adapted to meet the needs of younger generations less interested in owning cars and struggling to afford their first homes.
Projects are needed at the local level to raise awareness, build coalitions, share the research and knowledge of experts in the aging field, and, overall to change the mindset of what communities should look like and offer their residents.
That need is what prompted The Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation and Grotta Fund for Senior Care to seed and support new age-friendly community projects in northern New Jersey, forming a network that has now grown into a statewide alliance.
People of all ages need good local transportation, varied housing choices, walkable neighborhoods, and social and recreational programs that serve the needs and interests of all community residents.
To create and sustain the partnerships needed across all government levels - and between public and private sectors - to spur an age-friendly transformation of New Jersey communities of all sizes and types.
How Can NJ Communities Become More Age-Friendly?
The complex needs and desires of New Jersey’s older population cry out for innovative approaches in the physical design of communities, many of which lack compact downtowns, walkable neighborhoods and sufficient access to public transportation. In too many communities, a lack of diversity in the types of available housing limits older adults' choices and makes many communities difficult places to age.
Statewide strategies are needed for New Jersey to have the transportation and housing options that are needed to keep older New Jerseyans from reluctantly having to move from their longtime homes and communities. And those strategies are needed soon. By 2030, New Jersey's over-60 population is projected to number 2.5 million, representing a quarter of the state’s population.
The graphic on the left is from CREATING
TO AGE IN
NEW JERSEY : A Community Guide to Implementing Aging-Friendly Land Use Decisions, a resource compiled by New Jersey Future to to provide communities with a step-by-step process to make it easier to design for the needs of older residents and implement age-friendly strategies.