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Senior Spectrum Newspaper
September 2018
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Senior Spectrum Publications

Reno Now Certified as AARP Age-Friendly Community
by Donna Clontz
Chair, Reno Senior Citizen Advisory Committee
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Donna Clontz
Donna Clontz
AARP age friendly community

Last fall, the Reno Senior Citizen Advisory Committee voted to apply to become an Age-Friendly/ Livable Community through national AARP and the World Health Organization. We met with all our Reno council members and they passed a unanimous council resolution to apply for the program on June 6, 2018. We are proud to announce that on July 11, 2018, the City of Reno was certified as a member of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities. Soon we hope to obtain the support of the Washoe County Commission and the City Council of Sparks for a county-wide age-friendly initiative.

Reno will now start the two-year planning phase of the program, and we need community volunteers to join us. We are inviting a broad spectrum of community stakeholders from age 50+ residents, nonprofit organizations, businesses, government agencies and other community partners to join us at a town hall planning meeting hosted by all three senior advisory boards and the Washoe County Senior Coalition in early October 2018 at a time and place to be determined. The meeting will be facilitated and will have an agenda that includes brainstorming ideas that will start the process to identify our community assets and community priorities that will make Reno a more Age-Friendly/ Livable Community. Participants at the town hall meeting can then join the new Age Friendly Steering Committee which will choose its own beginning advisory board that will be community member driven and will meet on a regular basis to lead the group’s work. The Steering Committee will do a baseline assessment of the age-friendliness of the city, develop a 3year citywide plan of action based on assessment findings and identify indicators to monitor progress. AARP then gives us three years to implement and evaluate our action plan. Throughout the process we will receive resources, tools and guidance from AARP and the network of more than 250 other Age-Friendly Communities in the U.S. See https://www.aarp.org/livablecommunities/ for details.

Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency is hosting our online senior survey until December at www.tmrpa.org/seniorsurvey to gather opinions about how to make our community more age-friendly. If you have not taken it yet, please go to the website and give your opinions. We will also have the survey available at our Senior Fest table on September 4. Early results of the survey show that seniors are ranking Transportation, Housing, and Community Health & Services as their most important domains of livability.

Reno Age-Friendly Community

Additionally, in Fall 2018, the Reno Sustainability Manager will task a UNR undergrad researcher to evaluate how Reno can improve conditions for successful aging in the community and provide written assessments and recommendations for our Initiative to improve Reno’s ranking as a certified 3STAR Community, and to meet goals in the Reimagine Reno Master Plan. Current TMRPA survey results and the progress on the STAR ratings will be presented at the first Age Friendly town hall meeting.

Our work on the annual Older Americans Month and Stuff A Bus fundraiser for seniors each year has developed a great deal of collaborative planning and implementation experience between the City of Reno, City of Sparks, Washoe County, State of Nevada Aging and Disability Services Division, Regional Transportation Commission, Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency, University of Nevada Reno Sanford Center for Aging, Washoe County Library System, and many private service providers in the area. All these agencies are supportive of and looking forward to participating in our Age-Friendly Initiative.

The Age Friendly Steering Committee will work alongside the senior advisory boards and will regularly report its activities and progress and seek input from them, from the Senior Coalition and from the Reno City Council, the Sparks City Council, the Washoe County Commission and all our 50+ community residents. If state legislation is needed for any part of the Initiative, we also have great working relationships with our state representatives and regularly attend hearings and testify in Carson City on senior issues.

AARP’s Network offers us the tools to find and implement research-based, best practices and programs that will improve the lives and health of our residents—of all ages—as we work on making age-friendliness part of everything we do. The resource guides, toolkits, books and workbooks, websites, newsletters and one-on-one mentoring from AARP staff or other members of the network will help us make better choices and recommendations to our policy makers and give us a greater chance at succeeding in our efforts to become a more age-friendly community.

 

Please contact me at donnanorm1@yahoo.com or 775-240-2745 if you are interested in being part of our new Reno Age-Friendly Initiative. We’re excited to get started!