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Our History & DC's Progress

In October 2012, the District joined other aspiring jurisdictions through the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities worldwide on the journey to become an Age-Friendly City. Shortly thereafter, Age-Friendly DC became a founding member of AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, when WHO designated AARP to be the United States agent for the initiative. Age-Friendly DC followed the WHO Age-Friendly Cities and Communities framework by listening to thousands of DC residents prior to releasing its first five-year plan.

Age-Friendly DC released its first five-year plan in December 2014. Progress addressing goals and strategies developed by the Task Force and its Domain Task Force Committees was reported annually.  in 2017, Age-Friendly DC completed an evaluation, consulting DC residents throughout the city. That evaluation led to the Five-Year Progress Report to the World Health Organization. Both WHO and AARP recognized DC for its Age-Friendly changes, including: 

  • Converting park equipment in recreation areas for exercise and fun for persons of all ages and abilities
  • Launching and continuing Safe at Home, DC’s program modifies homes for aging in place
  • Opening Plaza West, with affordable residences for grand families, older adults raising children
  • Integrating ride sharing companies and increasing accessible taxis
  • Creating intergenerational gardening to maintain school gardens during summer breaks
  • Launching and continually growing the number of Age-Friendly Businesses
  • Beginning Alternative Pathways to Employment for residents 50 and over to pursue second and third careers
  • Training direct service providers in LGBTQ cultural competency
  • Providing Senior$afe training to financial securities firm personnel on how to spot and report financial exploitation of older adults
  • Promoting an Age-Friendly culture in DC, which has become the foundation for pursuing further changes that make it easier in DC to live work and play

The World Health Organization’s Director of Ageing and Life Course Dr. John Beard traveled from Geneva, Switzerland to congratulate Mayor Muriel Bowser on Age-Friendly progress completed in the District.

In February 2018, Mayor Muriel Bowser established a 2018-2023 Age-Friendly DC Task Force, which forged ahead. Using progress achieved in the first five years as a foundation, the Task Force worked in their committees to recommend content for the new five-year plan. By October 2018, Mayor Bowser released the 2023 Strategic Plan, with a Two-Year Progress Report following in January 2021.

In March 2024, Age-Friendly DC released the 2018-2023 Strategic Plan Progress Evaluation Report. While concluding and evaluating the impact of our second five-year effort, it is important to name COVID-19's impact. The COVID-19 pandemic was sudden, unpredictable, and devastating. We learned the importance of public health, as regular testing, mask-wearing, and vaccinations became our best defenses against the virus. The pandemic also challenged us to adapt and expand our efforts to address each of our fourteen Age-Friendly domains, some of which include:

  • Understanding and utilizing technology: We found new tools to connect with family, friends, and colleagues virtually
  • Being active outdoors: Walking outside became easier as our sidewalks, street crossings, and parks became more accessible.
  • Helping our neighbors: Neighbors helped neighbors more frequently and directly through organizations like DC Villages, which allows residents to age in their own homes among communities they know and love.
  • Supporting DC workers: Residents needing time off were able to utilize DC’s Paid Family Leave program.

We’ve made desirable progress thanks to the partnership of the DC Government agencies and community organizations. Click here for more information about our most recent plan progress evaluation.


AFDC 2015 Progress Report cover with PDF linkAFDC Five Year Progress Report to the World Health Organization cover with PDF link2023 Strategic Plan report cover with PDF link Age-Friendly DC Two Year Progress Report cover with PDF link2018-2023 Evaluation report cover with PDF link