Age friendly communities aren’t just about senior centers and extended library hours.

They’re also about zoning ordinances that allow for mixed-use developments, comprehensive regional transit policies, and accessible public spaces for organic intergenerational activity.

These are just a few of the ideas the age friendly communities’ working group outlined as priorities at the recent San Diego County Age Well Community Action Planning Session. The working group is made up of over 80 community leaders, academics, activists, nonprofit professionals and government staff working together to establish an action plan that promotes intergenerational opportunities and incorporates a dementia-friendly lens.

Age friendly communities promote successful aging across the life-span of residents through accessible built environments, supportive systems and inclusive practices.

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San Diego County Age Well Action Plan facilitator Mark Fenton, a leading expert with more than a decade of first-hand experience working with communities to enhance livability, shared, “Building communities where people can no longer play outside, or get what they need within walking distance, is bad for our health.

“We all know how to build an environment for healthy living. The key is implementing these ideas and institutionalizing them.”

[pullquote]We all know how to build an environment for healthy living. The key is implementing these ideas and institutionalizing them.[/pullquote]

In 2017, The San Diego Foundation granted $225,854 to support local age friendly strategies and programs, such as those discussed in the San Diego County Community Action Plan.

Through the Age Friendly Communities Program, The Foundation works to understand the challenges of older adults, and promotes San Diegans aging in place and staying connected to their communities.

By working with cities throughout San Diego to implement age friendly policies, we are building a more inclusive community for all generations.

Committed to Change

San Diego County is not alone in its push for age friendly communities at the local level.

The City of Chula Vista was the first city in the region to enter the World Health Organization global network of Age-friendly Cities.

Informed by more than 10,000 resident surveys, the Healthy Chula Vista for all Ages Action Plan will include recommendations on housing, transportation, and social participation as well as strategies to combat food insecurity.

“By 2050, the City of Chula Vista is projected to see a 100 percent increase in residents 65 and older, and more than a 200 percent increase in individuals over age 85,” explained Stacey Kurz, Senior Project coordinator for the Healthy Chula Vista Initiative. “An intergenerational focus is critical to ensure all Chula Vistans, young and old, want to live and work in the region.”

The findings and strategies that arise from the efforts of the City of Chula Vista, as well as the San Diego County Age Well Community Action Plan, will help pave a way forward for other communities in the region to adopt similar frameworks.

Help us build a more inclusive region for all San Diegans.

Support the Age Friendly Communities Program