Currently 1 out of 4 residents in Marin are 60 and over. That number will increase to 1 out of 3 in 15 years.
Novato has one of the highest concentrations of older adults in Marin county. It is already a leader in “quality of life” for older adults. AARP ranked Novato first in the nation among small cities in health and in the top ten in entertainment, cultural and arts access.
Population aging and urbanization are two global demographic trends that comprise major forces shaping the 21st Century.
In 2006 the World Health Organization (WHO) brought together 33 cities in 22 counties for a project to help determine the key elements of an urban environment that support active and healthy aging, ie. an “age-friendly” community.
As a result it created an age-friendly” check list which includes 8 domains: outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, community support and health services.
WHO regards active aging as a life long process shaped by several factors that alone, and acting together, favor health, participation and security in in older adult life.
Age-friendly communities are win-win-win communities unleashing the energies and contributions of younger, middle-aged, and older adults and create places that are better for us all. Its takes advantage of the untapped potential of our most experienced citizens and finds new ways to engage all of our residents.
Older people will continue to be an important, vital and ever-growing part of our community. In an age-friendly community, some older people will require services and supports, but many others will be able to continue to play active and helpful roles in our families, communities and economies.
Every one wants to “age in place.” Age-friendly communities are great places to live for people of all ages – “great places to grow up and grow old.”
Sausalito received the first “age-friendly” designation in our county which paved the way for two others, Corte Madera and Fairfax.
In March 2017, our City Council, under Mayor Denise Athas, approved the designation of age-friendly Novato unanimously.
Novato is now a member of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities. The network connects us with the resources to become more age-friendly by tapping into national and global research, planning models and best practices.
A small volunteer Age-Friendy Task Force has been working behind the scenes for the past two years in pursuit of this designation. The Age-Friendly Task Force has worked with Novato city planners to integrate age-friendly precepts into the Novato General Plan 2035, which is the city’s long term strategic plan and road map for the future.
We have thusfar done an assessment of Novato’s age-friendliness – and yes, it already is, and we can still improve upon it. We are in the process of developing a three-year action plan and will be networking with fraternal organizations and businesses in Novato. If you have any ideas and/or wish to volunteer, we welcome you, do not hesitate to contact us.
Michael Hagerty, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Marianne York, email@example.com
Beth Livoti, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jean Gunn, email@example.com
Gloria Dunn-Violin, firstname.lastname@example.org