Berkeley Receives Award for Age-Friendly Continuum and Action Plan
September 16, 2019
(Berkeley, CA) – Today, the City of Berkeley was awarded the Innovation Award from the SCAN Foundation, in partnership with the Milken Center for the Future of Aging, for its Age-Friendly Continuum and associated Age-Friendly Action Plan. The award is given to a city that has best demonstrated preparing their communities for the growth of their older adult population, and embracing innovation opportunities. The criteria for the award focuses on age-forward economic development, redesigning the urban landscape for all ages, and resilient networks for healthy aging.
The 4 priority areas of the plan are: (1) Develop a continuum of affordable, accessible housing options for older adults to age in their community regardless of their health or financial status; (2) Advance a network of public and private transportation that equitably serves residents and connects them to services, social activities, and employment opportunities; (3) Develop a more integrated system of services and supports that is person-centered and ensures that all residents have the opportunity to engage in health promoting activities; and (4) Enhance neighborhood cohesion and social connectedness of all Berkeley residents with community events and activities that are inclusive, affordable, and accessible.
"I am honored that our City is being recognized for the creation of a plan that was truly driven by our community to address the needs of our growing senior population”, said Mayor Jesse Arreguín. “Older adults are at the heart of our community and a vital part of the fabric of our neighborhoods and civic life. This plan demonstrates our commitment to a livable community where all generations are included and are able to thrive."
The population of older adults in Berkeley is expected to double in the next ten years, with 1 in 5 adults being over 65 years of age. The Plan was a collective effort, gathering input from the community and pulling together public and private leaders, resources, ideas, and strategies to address issues raised. This included receiving over 1,400 responses to an Age-Friendly community survey that was conducted as part of the process. To begin addressing the upcoming population shifts, the City of Berkeley joined the World Health Organization (WHO) and AARP’s Global Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities in July 2016, making it one of over 300 cities to be a part of this network.
“By including the Age-Friendly Action Plan in the City's Strategic Plan, the City remains committed to making progress on the four priority areas in order to address the needs of our older adult community” said Tanya Bustamante, Manager of the City of Berkeley’s Aging Services Division.
By the year 2030, there will be more people worldwide over the age of 60 than under the age of 10. In a 2017 report from the Milken Institute, the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metropolitan area was ranked 10th for best metro areas in the United States for successful aging, up from 17th in 2014.