Like many regions across the United States, Central Ohio is expected to see a dramatic increase of older residents, with the population of residents 65 years or older anticipated to double over the next 35 years. The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) has launched a multifaceted effort, called Age-Friendly Columbus, to ensure individuals of all ages can remain in their neighborhoods and live a high quality of life. Phase I of the project, a year long assessment including research, field work, and outreach on the age-friendliness of Columbus, concluded in February 2017. The biggest challenges that were revealed included 1) the lack of awareness and connection to existing systems and supports; 2) the lack of coordination among many existing programs and resources; and 3) the fact that we tend to age differently based on our demographics, environment, formative experiences, and lifestyle.
MORPC has engaged Planning NEXT to facilitate Phase II of the process: the preparation of a strategic plan that will outline the vision, goals, and strategies to create Age-Friendly Columbus. The World Health Organization and AARP have outlined 8 Domains of Livability (Civic Participation and Employment, Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Communication and Information, Community Support and Health Services, Housing, Outdoor Space and Buildings, Transportation, Respect, Inclusion and Social Participation) to help communities become great for people of all ages. The strategic plan will utilize this framework. In late March, the first working group meeting was held where the team explored major themes from Phase I and tested draft vision and goal statements. The strategic plan will be completed in fall 2017.
More information can be found on the project’s website.