The City of Westerville has launched an Age-Friendly Initiative to learn how local government and residents can work together to keep our community a great place for all residents to live, work, play and retire.
Age-Friendly Community Overview
Age-friendly communities promote healthy aging and improve the quality of life for older adults. They are officially designated through the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities. These organizations have identified eight livability domains that assess the age-friendliness of a community.
The Eight Age-Friendly Domains:
- Outdoor Spaces and Buildings - provide accessibility to recreational facilities.
- Transportation - provide accessibility to modes of private and public transportation.
- Housing - provide a wide range of housing options.
- Social Participation - provide access to activities for (older) residents.
- Respect and Social Inclusion - provide programs to support and promote diversity.
- Work and Civic Participation - provide professional and volunteer opportunities including lifelong learning.
- Communication and Information - provide various communication methods to keep older residents informed and connected to their community, friends and family.
- Community Support and Health Services - provide access to homecare services and programs to promote wellness and active aging.
Why is Age-Friendly Designation Important to Westerville?
Findings within the Westerville Community Plan and the Westerville PROS Master Plan indicate Westerville’s population is aging. As a result of increased life expectancies and the baby boomer population entering the 55+ age group, it is projected that Westerville’s 55+ population will grow to 32.4% by 2025 (currently at 31.9% as of 2016). In addition, Westerville’s rate of growth for this age group is higher than nationwide trends (Source: American Community Survey).
To be a successful Age-Friendly Community, the City needs to provide planning, policies, services and support structures that enable Westerville residents to remain active and connected as they age. In 2018 the City launched an Age-Friendly Initiative. Through the five year process, the goal of the Initiative is to establish an Age-Friendly Action Plan, which will establish strategies to ensure Westerville remains a great place for residents of all ages.
Examples may include expansion of the trail system and to ensure developers incorporate senior living accommodations in walkable developments.
Five Year Process Timeline
- Year 1: Resolution/Membership Application
- Year 2: Stakeholders Meeting #1
- Year 3: Public workshops/Livable Communities Survey & Data
- Year 4: Stakeholders Meeting #2, Development of Age-Friendly Westerville Action Plan, draft Plan for Council & public review, submit to AARP for Endorsement, Implement Action Plan
- Year 5: Monitor/Report/Reassess Age-Friendly Action Plan
This is all about all of us working together to understand our community and our needs so that everyone can live as engage and self-sufficient as possible.
Focus Group Meetings were held during August 2019. These public workshops allowed staff to spark conversations with our older residents and give them the opportunity to provide their perspectives. While no two people will have the same experience, the conversations generated three key preliminary takeaways:
- Residents are interested in local transportation options like a City circulator or shuttle service.
- Residents are interested in opportunities for intergenerational activities through school and Parks partnerships.
- Many residents and senior service providers expressed concerns about hosing costs.
The City conducted an Age-Friendly Community survey of residents ages 55 and over. The survey was created with support from Age-Friendly Delaware County and an established Westerville Age-Friendly Stakeholders team. The survey was sent to a randomly selected group of 1,200 Westerville residents. A total of 466 residents responded to the survey, enough for it to be determined statistically valid. Staff is currently working on putting together an assessment report with the survey data. The report will be one tool used to help shape the Age-Friendly Action Plan. The action plan is expected to start taking shape in fall 2020.
Questions or Concerns?
The City wants to hear your ideas about how we can keep Westerville a place where everyone can thrive. Please contact Chelsea Nichols by telephone at (614) 901-6662 or by email at email@example.com.
Westerville Age-Friendly Housing Workshop
Thank you to everyone who attended the Westerville Age-Friendly Housing Workshop on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019. Fifty people, including residents, business professionals and staff from other communities, attended the workshop to learn about Westerville's Age-Friendly Initiative and missing middle housing.
Thank you to Ken Davis of AARP Ohio for providing a grant allowing Opticos Design to present at the workshop and thank you to our speakers:
Assistant Director, Age-Friendly Columbus & Age- Friendly Franklin County
Principal Planner, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission
Senior Associate, Opticos Design
Please see the below links to open copies of the workshop presentations:
- Missing Middle Housing | AARP
- Age-Friendly Columbus and Franklin County | The Ohio State University School of Social Work
- Regional Housing Strategy | MORPC