AARP Approves Howard County Age-Friendly Action Plan

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HOWARD COUNTY, MD — The AARP has approved the Howard County Age-Friendly Action Plan, a document and critical milestone needed to join the AARP network of age-friendly states and communities. The report includes 80 recommendations across eight domains that influence the health and quality of life of residents. Howard County will work to implement recommendations during the next three years.

“When we make our community more walkable, provide better options to connect and engage with one another and support more accessible housing – people of all ages benefit,” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said. “Age-friendly communities foster independence, allowing residents of all ages and abilities to have great access to our amenities and services. With AARP’s stamp of approval, we can move forward confidently and work to ensure all recommendations can be implemented.”

Ball launched the county’s age-friendly initiative in December 2019, which encompasses a three- to five-year plan to be officially designated as an age-friendly community. During the past two years, more than 100 community members have surveyed more than 3,400 residents, conduct research and identify best practices. According to the U.S. Census, by 2030 one in five Howard County residents will be 65 or older and 8,000 residents will be 85 years or older—double the number of people in that age group today.

The action plan provides recommendations in eight domains that influence the health and quality of life of older adults:

  1. Outdoor spaces and buildings;
  2. Transportation;
  3. Housing;
  4. Social participation;
  5. Respect and social inclusion;
  6. Civic participation and employment;
  7. Communication and information;
  8. Community support and health services.

“AARP Maryland has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with stakeholders in Howard County as well as a robust team of volunteers living there who are dedicated to improving the lives of others,” Jen Holz, AARP Maryland Associate State Director for Outreach, said. “The county has stood out in so many ways- from walkability, their approach to aging services and multicultural inclusion. This age friendly plan is the perfect demonstration of their continued commitment to residents of all ages.”

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Terri Hansen, Age-Friendly Howard County manager, said in order to implement the plan, the county needs people willing to think differently and who are interested in making positive change.

“We need people who work in small and large businesses, in nonprofit organizations, faith communities and government agencies. We need people who are retired, who aren’t in the workforce and who aren’t old enough to be in the workforce,” Hansen said. “Everyone is invited and encouraged to be part of making this plan a plan of action. It was a community effort in the planning and development. It needs an even wider community effort to implement it.”

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