Laura Newland, executive director, DC Office of Aging and Community Living

Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. It was great to see so many of you at the Mayor’s Annual Senior Holiday Celebration last month. And we had so much to celebrate as we closed out 2017. This past year, we made significant strides towards becoming a more age-friendly, livable city for all residents, in all wards.

I was honored to join Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Age-Friendly Task Force in November, as the World Health Organization and AARP recognized Washington, D.C. as a top city for Age-Friendly policies.

Age-Friendly DC is a collaborative community effort towards making our city a place where all DC residents are active, connected, healthy, engaged, and happy in their environment.

Being age friendly includes all aspects of community life, including outdoor spaces and buildings, safe and affordable transportation, housing options for all ages, social participation, social inclusion, civic participation, employment, communication, health services, emergency preparedness, and elder abuse prevention.

Since launching this effort five years ago, we’ve talked a lot about what it would take to truly become an age-friendly city. But what does all of this really mean, for you, your friends, families, and neighbors?

It means that when you get up in the morning, you have choices about where to go, what to do, and how to get there. And that you’re likely one of the 97% of District residents who can walk to a park in 10 minutes or less.

You can drop in on an exercise class, join a book club, or play a game of pool with the thousands of older District residents regularly attending wellness centers or recreation centers. Or you can break bread with friends and neighbors at one of nearly 50 community dining sites across the city.

And you can get to these places safely, whether you walk, bike, use public transportation, or drive.

And when you get home, you can breathe easier knowing that Safe at Home made you feel safer in your own home by fixing your railing and installing grab bars—just like we’ve done for about 800 older District residents so far since 2016.

It means that if you need assistance in your daily life with getting dressed or getting around your house, we work to connect you with the appropriate care you need—in some cases even going to your house to explain program options and help you apply for services.

It means that you can go to any of our 43 age-friendly businesses, knowing that they have pledged to serve you in a safe and inclusive environment. It means businesses and local leaders are looking out to make sure that no one’s trying to take advantage of your finances and that

And if you need help finding work, DC provides training and job assistance. It means that we’re including everyone in emergency planning.

Age-friendly is about saying, “Everyone matters here in DC.” And for all of us, Age-Friendly means that we are a city of neighbors looking after neighbors.

To read the complete five year report, To learn more about programs and services available for you, reach out to DCOA at 202-724-5626 or online at

I’m proud of all we have been able to accomplish, and I’m excited for what we can do together in 2018 and beyond to make DC the best city in the world to age. Our commitment to you does not end at celebrating this accomplishment. In fact, this is where th

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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