Creating Age-Friendly Communities in Northern New Jersey

Our Foundation has seeded age-friendly projects in five Bergen communities. Their mission is to build partnerships on the local level that address both the challenges and opportunities of our aging population. Age-Friendly Communities aim to incorporate older residents into all aspects of community life and improve physical environments to promote independence and equity for aging residents, in partnership with municipal, county, and state government, local anchor institutions, and researchers.
Leaders of these communities regularly meet and share ideas with other age-friendly communities in northern New Jersey, forming a network that also works in partnership with AARP, the New Jersey Foundation for Aging, Rutgers University, and New Jersey Future. This alliance seeks to work with municipalities, counties and the state to identify and meet the housing, transportation and social services needs of older adults who want to remain in their homes and communities as they age. By 2030, the over-60 population in New Jersey is projected to number 2.5 million and represent a quarter of the state’s population.

The age-friendly movement was launched by the World Health Organization in 2005 and has been spreading across the globe. The guiding principle behind these efforts is that local solutions are needed to meet the global challenge of our aging population. The five age-friendly communities in Bergen County have collectively increased awareness of older adult issues by conducting surveys of housing and transportation needs and publishing resource guides and newsletters. They’ve persuaded their municipal leaders and residents to participate in walkability workshops and age-friendly assessments of infrastructure and municipal programs – research and analysis that has already led to tangible improvements – such as extra crossing time at a difficult crosswalk or a revamped senior van service. The community initiatives have also worked to decrease the social isolation of older adults and to build ties between the generations by sponsoring intergenerational activities and programs. The work of Age-Friendly Englewood, Generations For Garfield, Age-Friendly Ridgewood, Age-Friendly Teaneck, and Westwood for All Ages continues. We encourage you to visit the websites to learn more.