Many of our cities are laboratories for improving the quality of life for people of all ages. Those innovative programs often operate within the World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly Cities framework.

In July, New York City Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery and the Department For The Aging released Age-Friendly NYC: New Commitments For a City For All Ages, a comprehensive set of of city programs and initiatives to enrich the lives of older New Yorkers. As the population of New York City grows older — with adults ages 60 and above projected to account for 20.6 percent of the city’s population by 2040 — these commitments will help New York thrive during this period of demographic shift.

The age-friendly initiatives include existing programs for older adults, particularly around affordable housing, safety and mental health support, as well as new programs. The press release highlighted a number of priority commitments:

    • Increasing city funding for essential aging services by $84 million
    • Expanding the city’s senior housing commitment by 5,000 to 15,000 units of the 200,000 total units in the Mayor’s Housing New York plan
    • Providing universal access to civil justice and tenant legal services for New Yorkers who are facing eviction and have incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level
    • Focusing on geriatric mental health by embedding mental health practitioners in senior centers and addressing social isolation and depression faced by homebound older adults
    • Creating multidisciplinary teams in the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island as well as strengthening existing teams in Brooklyn and Manhattan in order to better serve elder abuse victims
    • Implementing education and enforcement initiatives that focus on the safety of older New Yorkers

While the plans are subject to budget and political hurdles, the list of initiatives is wide-ranging and thought-provoking, covering health and services, housing, safety, work, transportation and civic engagement, They’re a valuable read for everyone interested in how an increasingly urban country will respond to its aging population.

Read the full report here.



Published September 19, 2017