AARP is shaping a new West Michigan

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) – AARP Michigan is teaming up with the city of Grand Rapids to foster the health and happiness of its aging population. The city of Grand Rapids will officially launch to become certified as an age friendly community in 2017. The process is a five-year plan developed by the city and approved by AARP. The city has to meet the five year deadline to make improvements in 8 domains to become officially certified. The domains of livability developed by the World Health Organization include: outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation; housing; social participation; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; communication and information; and community support and health services.

“Demographics are shifting in Grand Rapids and other Michigan cities,” said Jennifer Muñoz, associate state director for community outreach. “It’s important that communities prepare to accommodate people of all ages. It’s a program to keep communities vibrant from stroller to walker.”

A series of meetings in 2016 focused on actions that city officials and community organizations can take to better support residents who want to remain in their homes and neighborhoods as they age. Similar gatherings will be scheduled in several locations throughout the city as planning goes forward in 2017.

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