The University of Louisville’s Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging, Louisville Metro Government, AARP and the Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency are leading the development of the plan, which aims to improve life for Louisvillians as they grow older.
To be an age-friendly city by AARP’s standards, the city must try to fulfill demands in eight key areas: outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation; housing; social participation; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; communication and information; and community and health services. Age-Friendly Louisville is working on the four of those currently, with a goal of reaching all eight in the future.
“To be ‘age-friendly’ doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily the ideal city, but that you as a city and community are committed to the process and the importance of these efforts and to move forward in ever-increasing improvements in those areas. Age-friendly for us is really is a generational effort because what’s good for a stroller is good for a walker,” said Natalie Pope, marketing and business specialist for University of Louisville’s Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging.
“Efforts of age and ability is an inclusive approach to everything from employment, mobility, accessing services, communications, awareness, outreach — all these other aspects really are good for individuals as they go through the later stages of life, but it really makes more inclusivity for all of us, regardless of our age,” she added.
The plan focuses on four core areas of making Louisville an age-friendly city: housing, mobility and access, respect and social inclusion, and community and health services.
- Goal 1: Increase the number of home maintenance resources for older adults that will allow them to stay in their homes as long as possible.
- Goal 2: Increase the number of home builders in Louisville who have earned the Certified Aging in Place Specialist certification from the National Association of Home Builders.
Mobility and Access
- Goal 1: Work with Regional Mobility Council to assure that TARC is affordable and maps are accessible and understandable to all community members.
- Goal 2: Improve sidewalks, crosswalks and crossing times and options to assure all citizens are able to access their communities safely.
Respect and social inclusion
- Goal 1: Increase the number of opportunities for intergenerational communication.
- Goal 2: Organize training sessions to support social engagement.
Community and health services
- Goal 1: Increase the capacity of neighborhood associations, Neighborhood Places, community ministries and TARC to promote health resource information.
With the conclusion of the public comment period, the Age-Friendly Louisville plan will go through a finalization process and is expected to be approved on Sept. 18. Then, citizen groups will get to work on specific project detailed in the strategic plan, Pope said.
“The idea is that for the next three years, we’ll focus on those action projects, and then toward the end of the three years, we’ll start focusing on the next strategic plan, increasing our reach and effect,” she said.