Orange County Creating a Region that Works for All Ages
We are getting older as a society. According to the AARP, approximately 45 million Americans are age 65 or older. By 2030, fully one in five Americans (73 million) will be older than 65. And by 2034, the United States will – for the first time ever – be composed of more older adults than children. This data shows communities across the country will have to adjust to remain age-friendly.
In order to create a community that works for everyone from “cradle to grave,” Orange County has joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities and has launched its own Age-Friendly Orange County Initiative. More than 650 communities nationwide are participating in the initiative.
“We’ve begun the process of implementing initiatives that are going to make our region more accessible and comfortable as we continue to age,” said Nicole Brown, Office of Aging Program Manager. “We need to take a fresh look at our aging population and its needs. Social activities for older adults took a huge hit during COVID, and it showed us just how important these programs and services are.”
As part of the initiative, Orange County residents have until May 31 to complete the Orange County Livable Communities Survey. The initiative will analyze how effectively the County is meeting the 8 Domains of Livability identified by the AARP, which include:
- Civic participation and employment
- Respect and social inclusion
- Communication and information
- Outdoor spaces and buildings
- Community support and health services
- Social participation
The survey is the first critical step in what is essentially a five-year process that also includes focus groups and the development and implementation of an action plan. Feedback from the survey will help the County identify what is working well and what additional programs and services might help older residents age in place. In five years, the process will begin all over again to keep things fresh.
“The goal is to integrate new age-friendly initiatives into current initiatives we already have underway, such as our transportation and affordable housing initiatives,” explained Brown. “We’ll create an action plan to see what we can integrate into these existing programs and get new ones started that will combat the issues we’re being made aware of through the survey.”
Feedback from the survey will help create an all-inclusive action plan that considers all perspectives. “Without knowing the pain points, we can’t make the most beneficial changes,” asserted Brown. “A great action plan hinges on great feedback.”
To take the survey, go to Orange County Livable Communities Survey.