Age-Friendly Cities Project: Senior Citizens’ Advisory Committee

By Regina Ford

A staggering seventy-eight million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 will retire during the next two decades. This presents the challenge for area leaders to develop a plan to make their cities friendly to people of all ages.

After hearing the city of Portland was one of only two U.S. cities designated as ‘Age-Friendly’ by the World Health Organization (WHO), Beaverton’s Senior Citizen Advisory Committee (SCAC) wanted to learn more. The committee called upon Alan De La Torre, PH.D., Research Associate at Portland State University’s Institute on Aging who was instrumental in Portland’s involvement in the project, to tell us more.

Dr. De La Torre explained the WHO’s project centers on the active aging framework which focuses on eight “domains.” These domains are: housing, transportation, outdoor spaces and buildings, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, and community support and health services.

The Friendly Cities project was designed as a reference for other communities to assess their strengths and gaps, advocate for change, and monitor the project’s progress. The aim is for cities to create strategies that focus on people of all ages, not just older residents.

Washington County’s Disability, Aging and Veteran Services (DAVS) have worked with the Vision Action Network in an Aging Initiative since 2011. This partnership led to a multi-year strategic plan to meet the increasing needs of elders in the county. The City of Beaverton has included some parts of age-friendliness in its Beaverton Community Vision plan.

If you are interested in this subject, or would like to be an active member on the Beaverton Senior Citizen’s Advisory Committee, please email city staff liaison Jim Brooks at jimbrooks@beavertonoregon.gov