Aging Insights Episode Looks at Age-Friendly Movement in NJ

Posted on February 4, 2021

The age-friendly conversation keeps expanding across the state and the country.

Check out this one featuring our alliance facilitator Julia Stoumbos, who appears in Episode 113 of Aging Insights, a You-Tube series produced by New Jersey Advocates for Aging Well.

Host Melissa Chalker interviews Stoumbos, director of aging-in-place programs for The Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation, about the growth of the movement in New Jersey and what’s driving it. Stoumbos describes how leaders of communities in northern New Jersey meet regularly, forming a network that also includes such partner organizations as NJAAW.

The episode also features Amy St. Peter, Deputy Executive Director of Maricopa (AZ) Association of Governments.

Amy St. Peter explains that Maricopa Association of Governments is the regional planning agency for the greater Phoenix region.

“That means that we’re a Council of Governments as well as a Metropolitan Planning Organization,” she says. “Those two structures are present throughout the country so you have those in New Jersey as well and every state in the country.” She notes that the age-friendly efforts taking place in Arizona “…can be undertaken in a very similar way with partners that you have right in New Jersey as well.”

St. Peter stresses the importance of having a community-driven movement. “If this effort is really driven by the community, then it’s more relevant to the community, it’s more responsive,” she says.

Stoumbos describes the age-friendly movement in New Jersey as “a sort of mindset and structure that applies to communities and helps people to be able to age throughout the lifespan in a place that supports different levels of needs.”

Stoumbos explains that age-friendly communities have been in the works in the state since 2016 and more communities are joining the existing ones in New Jersey.

“One of the program areas that I’m focused on is aging in place and so the ultimate goal for that work is really to create the kinds of opportunities for people to live their best life and be as independent as possible throughout the lifespan,” Stoumbos said.

Stoumbos notes that some other states have “been on this path a little longer than we have and have more of a statewide approach that’s more sustainable. We’re aiming for that and I think it’s something achievable. Starting at this local level has given us ideas of how to move forward.”