The age-friendly movement in San Diego County continues to expand.

On October 8, 2019, the City of La Mesa became the latest municipality to rollout an age-friendly action plan to promote programs and policies that will strengthen the quality of life for older adults in the community.

[pullquote]It’s challenging not being able to do the same things I was able to do 10 or 20 years ago but when I heard about Livable La Mesa I got excited. I felt this was my step to freedom. [/pullquote]The plan, Livable La Mesa, is the result of a yearlong initiative facilitated with support from The San Diego Foundation Age-Friendly Communities Program. As part of the process, La Mesa is now an official member of the AARP-World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-Friendly Communities and States, an international project to help cities prepare for the rapid population growth and extended life span of older adults age 60 and beyond.

According to city data, La Mesa is expected to see a 13% increase in the number of residents over age 65 by 2030.

The city’s Livable La Mesa initiative is a strategic action plan to improve specific gaps identified in the domains of Transportation, Housing, Outdoor Spaces /Buildings, Social & Civic Participation, Community Information and Health/ Wellness. These areas were determined after significant community input that focused on the specific needs of La Mesa residents.

As Carol, a 23-year resident of La Mesa, explained, “It’s challenging not being able to do the same things I was able to do 10 or 20 years ago but when I heard about Livable La Mesa I got excited. I felt this was my step to freedom. To have my voice heard and the city take action lets me know that the city is committed to my happiness and success even during my golden years in La Mesa.”

The Livable La Mesa actions items provide a clear timeline and set of next steps for the community, including:

  • Provide permit fee incentives to homeowners who want to build Accessible Dwelling Units
  • Create more all-weather walking surfaces for accessibility
  • Incentivize the construction of mixed-use affordable housing units
  • Host public workshops on how to adapt a home for aging and intergenerational families
  • Lead nighttime walk audits with residents to identify dark patches, LED retrofitting needs and additional lighting in public spaces
  • Engage Senior Community Service Employment Program to innovate paid work options for older adults

These are just a few of the many steps the City of La Mesa plans to take in its efforts to incorporate more age-friendly policies and programs for its residents.

“We aim to be a city that meets the challenges and opportunities of an aging population, so all ages can participate in a fulfilling community life and enjoy robust health and well-being,” shared La Mesa’s Mayor Mark Arapostathis. “The Livable La Mesa Action Plan will pave the way forward for our region.”

Regionwide Movement

La Mesa is one of the many municipalities in the San Diego region that have already signed on or will soon sign on to become an age-friendly community.

Currently, the Cities of La Mesa, San Diego and Chula Vista, as well as the County of San Diego are designated Age-Friendly Communities. The San Diego Foundation is proud to be an integral partner in each of these efforts.

Support an age-friendly action plan in your neighborhood by contributing to our Age-Friendly Communities Program.