Oxford Mainstreet and the Borough of Oxford seek to create an Age Friendly Community

 

As the U.S. population ages and people stay healthy and active longer, communities must adapt.

Well-designed, livable communities promote health and sustain economic growth, and they make for happier, healthier residents — of all ages.

Age-friendly or livable communities have walkable streets, housing and transportation options, access to key services and opportunities for residents to participate in community activities.

Oxford Mainstreet, Inc. (OMI), in partnership with the Borough of Oxford, is taking the first steps of moving that vision into action by applying for membership in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. The network encourages states, cities, towns and counties to prepare for the rapid aging of the U.S. population by paying increased attention to the environmental, economic and social factors that influence the health and well-being of older adults. By doing so, these communities are better equipped to become great places, and even lifelong homes for people age 50+ and their families.

As part of its application for membership, the Borough of Oxford first adopted resolution #1265-2018 in June of 2018 in support of the initiative. Doing so was the primary step in showing that the community's elected leadership has made the commitment to actively work toward making Oxford a great place for people of all ages.

The remaining parts of the application are set to be completed this spring. Once accepted into the network by AARP, OMI’s next step will be to convene a Blue Ribbon Commission where community leadership and residents will work together to assess the needs of older residents, craft an action plan for needed improvements, and then implement and evaluate the efforts. The Commission will be inclusive and considerate of the perspectives of all residents, of all ages, of all persuasions, and actively seek input from diverse stakeholders. At least twenty five percent of the Blue Ribbon Commission members will be residents of the community and shall include older residents.

The AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities was launched in April 2012 and operates under the auspices of the World Health Organization's Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Program, an international effort launched in 2006 to help cities prepare for rapid population aging and the parallel trend of urbanization. The program has participating communities in more than 20 nations, as well as 10 affiliates representing more than 1,000 communities. Nationally, three states and 332 individual communities have joined the network. 

The program emphasizes both the built and the social environment, including eight domains of community life that influence the health and quality of life of older people - outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, and community support and health services.

AARP's participation in the program advances efforts to help people live easily and comfortably in their homes and communities as they age. With the support of AARP, the goal is to encourage older adults to take a more active role in the community and have their voices heard. 

For further information or to express interest in serving on the Blue Ribbon Commission, please contact:

Brian Wenzka, Executive Director, Oxford Mainstreet, Inc.
610-998-9494
bwenzka@oxfordmainstreet.com