Did you know that Homestead Village’s hometown of Lancaster, PA continues to collect awards and accolades related to the exceptional quality of life we have here?
After being named America’s #1 Place to Retire for 2019 by U.S. News and World Report, it was unsurprising that Lancaster’s application to be designated as an Age-Friendly City was approved late last year.
But what does that Age-Friendly designation mean? And why does adding this newest feather to our community’s cap mean that the hardest work has just begun?
Today’s blog post explains what you need to know about the Age-Friendly Cities Initiative, as well as how Homestead Village played an active role in garnering this latest achievement for Lancaster.
Here’s the story.
The idea of designating specific cities and larger communities—including entire states and territories—as age-friendly began well over a decade ago when the World Health Organization (WHO) published their landmark report, “Global Age-Friendly Cities: A Guide.”
Age-friendliness is loosely defined as “being good for all ages,” though there is a particular focus on ensuring that the unique needs of individuals over age 60 are being actively addressed.
The reason age-friendliness has become a priority now is due to the rapidly expanding 60+ demographic, both here in the United States—where AARP has taken up the charge of mobilizing the WHO’s report recommendations—and around the world. More than ever, communities, and especially cities, need to examine their infrastructure, neighborhoods, and overall environment to ensure they remain great places to live for people of all ages.
To help communities reach their full age-friendly potential, AARP crafted eight areas or “domains” where a community needs to commit to excellence in order to achieve an official designation.
When compared to similar initiatives in other growth or achievement areas, the interesting thing about the Age-Friendly designation is that it’s “aspirational.” This means that AARP will grant the designation following an application process, but then the real work—5 years’ worth—begins as community groups hone those domains to AARP’s and WHO’s satisfaction.
The domains themselves are broad categories of community features that need to be fully assessed so that an action plan of improvement can be submitted to AARP. The community sets specific age-friendliness goals, and then—pending approval—they set to work implementing their strategies. The eight domains are defined as:
Here at Homestead Village we certainly support Lancaster’s motivation to become an official Age-Friendly City, but that’s not just endorsement from the sidelines. Homestead Village is part of L.A.S.S—Lancaster Area Senior Services, a membership-based organization comprised of 19 Continuing Care and Life Plan retirement communities in Lancaster County. L.A.S.S. spurred the Age-Friendly designation process, and it will continue to work through the planning and implementation of the program goals for the eight domains in the coming years.
While Homestead Village’s campus is situated beyond the borders of the downtown area, many of our extended family members and employees live in the City of Lancaster. Not to mention, we also spend a lot of time playing and working downtown!
Here at Homestead Village, we talk a lot about our commitment to the philosophy of THRIVE WHERE YOU ARE®. The components of this initiative within our own community embrace the spirit of age-friendliness.
With Lancaster being named an Age-Friendly City, those involved with the process began wondering if the broader Lancaster County community might be ready for the designation, as well. According to recent media coverage, the Lancaster County Commissioners have begun working on the application process to have our entire community be recognized as the age-friendly place we already know it to be.
Is your current community age-friendly? If not, it’s time you considered a move to Lancaster. And if you’re ready to discover a warm and welcoming community dedicated to helping you thrive, you’ll want to consider Homestead Village. Get in touch with us today to learn about our excellent living options for those with or without healthcare needs.