The Age-Friendly initiative is an international effort led by the World Health Organization and is part of a national network facilitated by AARP. Age-Friendly encourages cities, counties, and even states to prepare for the rapid aging of the U.S. population by applying focused innovation to the environmental, economic, and social factors that influence the health and well-being of older adults.

Each Age-Friendly community must observe WHO’s 8 Domains of an Age-Friendly Community. These eight domains guide the steps of the Age-Friendly process and help determine which partners should be engaged in the planning and facilitation of an assessment and strategic plan.

In collaboration with SourcePoint and other partners, the Delaware General Health District conducted a community survey in 2018 of Delaware County’s strengths and weaknesses. The assessments covered all eight domains of a livable community. The findings report, which can be found at MySourcePoint.org/age-friendly, includes results from a direct-mail survey, for which the health district received a 51-percent response rate.

In May, SourcePoint hosted the Age-Friendly Delaware County Findings Presentation. The report provided an overview of the 2018 survey methodology and results. From these results, six domains of livability were established for Age-Friendly Delaware County. These domains include:

  • Community Support/Health and Safety Services.
  • Housing.
  • Transportation.
  • Outdoor Spaces and Buildings.
  • Communication and Information.
  • Community Engagement and Participation.

Community support and health and safety services ensure older adults are able to access and afford the community-based support, health, and safety services they require. It also focuses on emergency planning that includes older adults, taking into account their needs and capacities in preparing for and responding to emergencies.

The housing domain aims to ensure older adults have access to affordable, accessible, and safe housing options with the ability to age in place if they so desire. It also includes appropriately qualified, reliable, and affordable service providers to undertake maintenance and modification work to attain accessibility.

Transportation that is age-friendly ensures older adults have access to affordable and safe transportation that will get them where they need to go. Communities are serviced with adequate, well-connected transport routes, with reliable and frequent public transportation. This includes other forms of transportation too, such as safer bike lanes, more connected bike trails, and paved paths.

Outdoor spaces and buildings provide safe and accessible indoor and outdoor places for people of all ages to gather and engage as a community. The outside environment and public buildings have a major impact on the mobility, independence, and quality of life for older adults, as well as their ability to age in place.

The communication and information domain recognizes older adults prefer to communicate and receive information in various ways, which may be different than other age groups. This means regular and reliable information is available through different sources, such as mail, email, newspaper, and radio, as well as through public meetings, community centers, and clubs.

Community engagement and participation includes ways older adults can continue to work if they choose, volunteer, and be actively engaged in community life. An age-friendly community provides a range of events and activities that are accessible, affordable, and person-centered. It encourages community integration and fosters intergenerational activities and relationships for people of all ages.

If you’re interested in getting involved with Age-Friendly Delaware County by joining one of the six domain committees, or the older-adult advisory board, contact Age-Friendly Coordinator Jackie Haight at jhaight@ MySourcePoint.org or 740-203-2435. Jackie Haight is the age-friendly coordinator at SourcePoint. See more at MySourcePoint.org/age-friendly.