From the laws that impact building codes to the training we need to secure the jobs we want to how we’re treated on the bus, there is work to do as our region’s age demographics shift and we’re presented with a new opportunity.
In the next two decades, the number of residents ages 65 and older will increase by 40 percent in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Meeting the needs of an older population certainly comes with challenges, but as more of our residents live longer lives, it means our region has a new, growing resource—people with buying power, career expertise, lived experience, and diverse skills and interests. The time is now to tap into this resource by coming together and ensuring continued opportunities for all.
Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh is an initiative of Southwestern Pennsylvania Partnership for Aging (SWPPA), and we are thrilled to be the project team leading implementation. We are working closely with partners across our region to elevate inclusion across generations.
In September 2015, thanks to work by SWPPA members and partners, Pittsburgh and Allegheny County joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, kicking off a five-year planning, implementation and evaluation cycle. Our AARP network is part of the World Health Organization’s international initiative.
We envision a region that’s open to all of us. It’s easy to get around. It’s easy to find and afford different options, whether we’re looking for a new home or a ride across town. We all can feel comfortable crossing the street. We all can make it to an appointment on time. We all can enjoy a Sunday afternoon outside.
Focusing on mobility, affordability, and navigation, we are:
For example, Action Item #1: The Crossings. The Crossings are pop-up street performances that build visibility in favor of crosswalk safety in busy, hazardous intersections.
We envision a region that supports one another. It’s understood that we are better when we move outside of our age silos and come together to enjoy life. We celebrate the power of relationships that build bridges across ages and life experiences. We all can attend shows, take classes, and join causes that interest us. We all have the option to participate.
Focusing on perception, social spaces, and intergenerational relationships, we are:
For example, Action Item #13: Arts for All. United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s “Open Your Heart to a Senior” Program is expanding opportunities for intergenerational dialogue and solidarity through visits to arts events and cultural institutions.
We envision a region that’s relentlessly pushing for progress. It’s committed to affording each resident the opportunity to age where and how they choose. We honor promising solutions and test brand new ones that open doors—to businesses, workplaces, training opportunities, and apartment listings. We all can benefit from advancements in technology and design. We all can see what’s on the horizon.
Focusing on businesses, neighborhoods, our workforce, and interaction, we are:
For example, Action Item #28: Tech Support. The Jewish Healthcare Foundation’s Virtual Senior Academy helps older adults remain in their communities and connected to people of all ages through interactive online classes.
“How seniors in Allegheny County combat social isolation,” by Martha Rial | Public Source
“To build an inclusive smart city, look through an age-friendly lens,” by Katie Pyzyk | Smart Cities Dive
“Growing Older—and Designing Smarter,” by Laura Poskin | American Planning Association
“The Crossings: Bloomfield” (Video) | Lively Pittsburgh
“Playing our way to safety,” by Shayna Gleason | Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative
“‘Crossings: Bloomfield’ advocates for safe crosswalks,” by Andrew McKeon | Bloomfield-Garfield Bulletin
Video of Launch Press Conference | City Channel Pittsburgh
“Age-Friendly Pittsburgh: Action plan aims to make this a better place to grow old,” by Gary Rotstein | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“As Pittsburgh’s Population Ages, A Push To Make The City More Senior-Friendly,” by Kathleen J. Davis | WESA
“Age-Friendly Program Aims to Build Generational Inclusiveness,” by Neil Strebig | Northside Chronicle