On Tuesday, Governor Murphy announced the creation of an Age-Friendly State Advisory Council and signed Executive Order No. 227, which will work to identify opportunities for creating livable communities for people of all ages, recommend best practices for age-friendly work, and promote community inclusion across the state. Within 18 months of the Executive Order, the Department of Human Services will develop and deliver to the Governor a blueprint of best practices for advancing age-friendly practices across the state based on by the advice of the Advisory Council.
Developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) the Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities is designed to promote public policies that improve the health, well-being, satisfaction, and quality of life for all residents by focusing on eight key domains of community life that impact active aging.
The eight key domains are:
- Outdoor spaces and buildings – accessibility to and availability of clean, safe community centers, parks, and other recreational facilities;
- Transportation – safe and affordable modes of private and public transportation, "Complete Streets" types of initiatives, hospitable built environments;
- Housing – wide range of housing options, aging in place and other home modification programs, housing that is accessible to transportation and community and health services;
- Social participation – access to recreational and cultural activities, opportunities for all residents to participate in social and civic engagement with their peers and both older and younger people;
- Respect and social inclusion – programs to support and promote ethnic and cultural diversity, programs to encourage multigenerational interaction and dialogue, programs to combat loneliness and isolation among older residents;
- Civic participation and employment – promotion of paid work and volunteer opportunities for older residents, opportunities for older residents to engage in formulation of policies relevant to their lives;
- Communication and information – promotion of and access to the use of technology to keep older residents connected to their community and friends and family, both near and far;
- Community support and health services – access to homecare services, clinics, programs to promote active aging (physical exercise and healthy habits).
The Age-Friendly State Advisory Council will be run in the Department of Human Services and chaired by the Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman, or her designee and will consist of the Lieutenant Governor Shelia Oliver in her capacity as Commissioner of Community Affairs, Commissioner of Health Judy Persichilli, and Commissioner of Transportation Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, or their designees, as well as representatives from county and municipal governments or local authorities, community aging and inclusion stakeholders, the business community, and experts from the higher education community.
The objectives of the Advisory Council include:
- identifying opportunities for, and barriers to, the creation of livable communities for people of all ages across the State of New Jersey;
- recommending best practices for age-friendly employment and civic participation among partners such as health and community services, business leaders, local and elected officials, advocacy organizations and volunteer groups, and innovative public-private partnerships;
- promoting age-friendly community inclusion and equitable outcomes by examining programs and practices to ensure that they address disparities experienced by older adults of every race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, or ethnicity.
We encourage our members to reach out to the Department of Human Services to share what your community is doing to advance these goals.
Contact: Paul Penna, Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-695-3481, x.110