About the Movement
The “age-friendly” initiative is a project of AARP and the World Health Organization (WHO) that launched in 2006 and has since expanded to 44 nations. The effort aims to prepare cities and towns for a rapidly aging population and increased urbanization. According to the AARP, an age-friendly community is one that is safe, secure, inclusive, has affordable housing and transportation options, and offers support services. In Massachusetts, 75 towns or cities are designated as age friendly.
As part of achieving the age-friendly designation from the AARP, the City of New Bedford was required to draft an action plan – a document outlining steps the city can take to become a more livable place for everyone. The process began back in 2015 as a joint venture between the City and Coastline. The Tufts Health Plan Foundation awarded Coastline a grant to carry out the action plan.
The effort to make New Bedford a more age-friendly city is divided into seven broad categories, or domains: housing, outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, community support and health services, social participation, civic participation and employment, and communication and information. More than two dozen people representing various agencies, nonprofits and municipal departments took part in planning and development to ensure that steps in the action plan were implemented.
Resources and Information
In the Media
- Age-Friendly New Bedford, Massachusetts, Responds to COVID-19, AARP website, 05/01/2020
- Local Age-Friendly Efforts Provide Models for Success by Antron Watson and Amanda Bernardo, Municipal Advocate Vol. 30, No. 1. 12/1/2019
- Massachusetts cities ranked among best places to retire by Brennan Ehrhardt, ABC News 10, 9/24/19
- New Bedford advocates say helping the older population helps the community by Aimee Chiavaroli, The Standard-Times, 3/24/19
- New Bedford named ‘age-friendly’ by AARP by Jennette Barnes, The Standard-Times, 6/19/18