With AARP’s recent approval of Arlington’s Age Friendly Action Plan, Building an Age Friendly Community, the County is now entering a three-year process to achieve the plan’s goals and objectives—and enhance the County’s standing as a livable community for people all ages.
The plan was formally adopted by the County Board at its June 2020 meeting.
“The mission and vision behind this plan will move Arlington forward as an age-friendly community,” said Board Chair Libby Garvey. “Its core values are inclusion, equity, access, and elimination of stigma and stereotypes for older Arlingtonians. However, it centers on the recognition that an age-friendly community is good for every resident.”
Aligned with the AARP-WHO Age Friendly Framework, Arlington’s plan focuses efforts in several key areas or domains of livability:
- Civic participation and employment
- Community and health supports
- Outdoor spaces and buildings
- Respect and social inclusion
- Social participation
- Communication and information
In 2018, Arlington County joined the AARP Network of Age Friendly States and Communities, the U.S. affiliate of the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities.
The WHO and AARP provide the framework for age-friendly communities, but each community develops its own age-friendly plan and implementation strategy. The Arlington Commission on Aging created its Age-Friendly Arlington Task Force and, with support from the Department of Human Services and Agency on Aging, and worked to identify key areas to make Arlington even more age friendly and create a pathway to achieve that goal. The Arlington Age Friendly Action Plan is the result of this multi-year of effort.
“The Commission on Aging and Age-Friendly Task Force are inspiring and prove to us all the great resource and many contributions of Arlington’s older adults,” said Rachel Coates, Director of the Arlington Area Agency on Aging. “This plan highlights their many achievements, and we owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to this dedicated group of advocates who strive to make Arlington a more inclusive, accessible, livable community for us all.”
As part of a multi-year effort, the Commission on Aging led a thorough inventory of assets and resources and conducted assessment and outreach efforts to identify strengths and gaps in Arlington.
Community Engagement Forums in 2018 and 2019 focused on the theme of Arlington as an Age Friendly Community, and garnered significant public input. Workshops and surveys complemented the commission’s efforts, as did outreach meetings and more than 20 community listening sessions hosted by task force members and commissioners in a variety of formats and venues.
The Age Friendly Action Plan addresses the domains of livability through a variety of strategies. Detailed charts present the related tasks, responsibilities, and indicators for achieving goals and objectives.
Action plans for each domain will guide the work of the Commission on Aging and the Age-Friendly Arlington Task Force over the next three years. COA committee chairs will be responsible for reporting progress toward stated goals and objectives to the full commission, and updates to the community will occur at the annual Engagement Forum held each March.