Our Community Project Priorities
The work of each age-friendly project is shaped by the older residents in the community - with input from the local government, civic, business, and faith-based leaders who participate as partners. Priority areas are spelled out in this chart below, which was compiled by researchers at Rutgers School of Social Work. Their February 2021 study evaluates the work of the eight original communities in the North Jersey alliance of Age-Friendly Communities.
Priority Areas of 8 Inaugural Communities in North Jersey alliance of Age-Friendly Communities
Our Age-Friendly Alliance Partners
As an alliance, we work to combat ageism and advocate for the community supports needed to permit more older adults to safely age in their homes and communities. We partner with many organizations who share these goals.
The NJ chapter of this national organization works with our alliance on a number of fronts, including advocating for the physical and social infrastructure changes that are needed to make New Jersey more age-friendly. Several of our community projects have been awarded AARP Community Challenge grants to for livability and social engagement efforts, In addition, 13 municipalities and one NJ county have joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities.
Formerly known as the New Jersey Foundation for Aging, this organization regularly hosts conferences, webinars and television programs on topics such as combatting ageism and promoting age-friendliness. NJAAW was instrumental in the development of the Elder Index, cost-of-living measure that found that more than half of over-65 singles in NJ – and nearly a quarter of elder couples – are “economically insecure,” meaning they lack income for life’s basics.
New Jersey Future (NJF) is a non-profit policy and planning organization that conducts research, works directly with local advocates and governments, and engages in state policy as part of its Creating Great Places to Age program. A 2014 NJF report found that 21 percent of New Jerseyans live in towns not well-suited for aging in place. NJF has partnered with several communities to develop localized aging-friendly assessment reports and implementation plans to help enable local leaders to make strategic land use decisions.
Research led by Dr. Emily Greenfield, an associate professor, and Dr. Althea Pestine-Stevens, a post-doctoral associate, is chronicling the impact and growth of our age-friendly alliance in real time and developing qualitative and quantitative measures that help local leaders gauge the efficacy of their advocacy, outreach activities and community-building efforts. Having social work scientists evaluating our community-led projects in real time has strengthened our goal of creating sustainable change.
The mission of the New Jersey Travel Independence Program (NJTIP) is to increase the self-sufficiency of people with disabilities, older adults and others by empowering them to use the public transit system safely. NJTIP has partnered with several of our communities to conduct group travel instruction seminars and field trips and is currently in the midst of a study analyzing how population aging and older adult housing trends will affect future transportation needs in New Jersey. Click here to watch a video explaining the program.
Partners for Health Foundation, based in Montclair, has supported more than 130 organizations in the 15 communities it serves in Essex and Passaic counties with grants for programs and collaborations intended to promote healthy communities and lifestyles. In 2014, the foundation, along with the Montclair Health Department, launched an “Aging in Place” program that gave birth to Lifelong Montclair. In 2019, the foundation funded a senior livability initiative in West Orange, which has led to that township joining our network.