Austin is first Texas city to receive green light for implementation of “Age-Friendly” action plan

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Austin will begin work on implementing a plan aimed at enhancing the city’s livability for senior citizens following Thursday’s plan approval by the AARP and World Health Organization.

The Austin-Round Rock metropolitan statistical area houses the fastest-growing presenior population—between 55 and 64 years old—and second-fastest-growing senior population, according to numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 2012, Austin joined 287 cities worldwide as an AARP and World Health Organization “Age-Friendly Community” following the city’s commitment to developing an action plan aimed at enhancing living conditions for seniors. The city’s Commission on Seniors worked with several city departments in developing the action plan, which was published in 2017.

The plan focuses on what the World Health Organization considers eight “domains of livability:” housing; transportation; parks and open space; social inclusion; social participation, community and health services, civic participation and employment, and communication and information.

During Thursday’s City Council meeting, Austin became the first Texas city to receive official approval of its action plan, which green-lights the plan’s implementation. Jessica Lemon, a representative from AARP Texas, said this is where the rubber meets the road.

The plan outlines 21 goals set to be accomplished through 76 actions. Jannee Briesemeister, chairwoman of the Commission on Seniors, said the plan’s implementation is in its infant stage, and a central focus in 2018 will be developing ways to collect data on services to seniors.

For more information on the issues affecting Austin’s senior population, check out Community Impact Newspaper’s February story: Can Austin match the needs of its growing senior population?

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Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following two years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun and USA Today. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
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