AARP Illinois recently announced that the City of Springfield joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. As the latest community to sign on to the network, Springfield’s civic leaders will have access to global resources and information on age-friendly best practices, models of assessment and implementation, and the experiences of towns and cities around the world.
The network helps participating communities become great places for people of all ages by adopting features such as safe, walkable streets, better housing and transportation options, access to key services, and opportunities for residents to participate in civic and community activities.
“As Mayor, I recently implemented a new initiative called BUILD Springfield, which stands for beautification, unity, innovation, leadership and development,” said Mayor Misty Buscher. “Participation in the Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities will give us the tools to further identify the deficiencies in our community and formulate a comprehensive approach to improve the livability of Springfield for all residents.”
The AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities targets improvements in eight domains that influence the health and quality of life for all as we age. Communities participating in the network commit to improving their livability through an assessment of needs, development of an action plan, implementation of new projects and programs, and ongoing assessment – all with the involvement of older residents. The eight areas of focus for the age-friendly process are Outdoor spaces and buildings; Transportation; Housing; Social participation; Respect and social inclusion; Civic participation and employment; Communication and information; Community support and health services.
“Well-designed, livable communities promote well-being, sustain economic growth, and make for happier, healthier residents — of all ages,” said AARP Illinois State Director Phillippe Largent. “By becoming part of the network, Springfield is making a commitment to do even more to improve livability in the community and involve older residents in the process. We look forward to working with them to create a community that is more livable and inclusive for people of all ages.”
To date, 797 communities, 10 states, and 1 territory nationwide have joined the network and made a commitment to age-friendliness.