(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser released the “Age-Friendly DC 2023 Strategic Plan,” a guiding plan to ensure DC residents of every age are active, connected, healthy, engaged, and happy in their environment. Last fall, Washington, DC was recognized as a top Age-Friendly City by the World Health Organization (WHO) and AARP, and the updated Age Friendly plan will provide guidance for building on the city’s success.
“As our neighborhoods continue to thrive and our city continues to grow, the Age-Friendly DC initiative has brought our community together and helped us build a safer, stronger city for residents of every age,” said Mayor Bowser. “This strategic plan will guide our ongoing efforts to ensure Washington, DC remains a city where residents of every age can live healthy, happy, and purposeful lives.”
In the last ten years, the number of Washingtonians over the age of 60 has grown by nearly 15,000 to 117,223. As the population of older residents continues to increase, the Bowser Administration has remained focused on keeping the city affordable for seniors and residents at all stages of life. In fiscal year 2019, the Mayor provided property tax for seniors by cutting in half how much their property taxes can go up. The budget also includes a $4.5 million investment in the Safe at Home program; through home security adaptations and modifications, the Safe at Home program makes it possible for more residents to age safely in their own homes and communities.
Through the Age-Friendly DC initiative, the Bowser Administration has:
- launched the Safe at Home Program to help DC residents 60 and over and adults with disabilities with home modifications and assist with private security camera installations;
- opened Plaza West, which will provide 223 units of affordable rental housing, including 50 units reserved for grandfamilies – grandparents raising grandchildren;
- advocated for DC Medicaid reimbursement to support creation of affordable neighborhood assisted living residences;
- piloted an intergenerational gardening program to maintain school gardens over the summer;
- recognized more than 70 local businesses as Age-Friendly Businesses, spread out across all eight wards;
- launched the Alternative Pathways to Employment Program to refresh the job skills of residents who are 50 years old or older and place participants with employment opportunities; and
- provided “Senior$afe” training to financial securities firm personnel on how to spot and report financial exploitation of seniors.
“Today, Mayor Bowser is reconfirming that Age-Friendly is more than a series of items to check off, it’s about our values—that no matter how old you are, no matter your income, your abilities, Washington, DC is a place for you. The 2023 Strategic Plan is a continued commitment to ensuring DC remains the best city in the world to age,” said Laura Newland, Director of the Office of Aging.
The 2023 Strategic Plan addresses 14 domain areas that reflect an interagency and community-wide view of Age-Friendly policies in the District. Domains include outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation; housing; social participation; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and engagement; communication and information; community support and health services; emergency preparedness and resilience; abuse, neglect and fraud; financial security; lifelong learning; public safety; and, caregiving.
The Mayor celebrated the release of the plan with community members at the historic Avalon Theatre in Ward 3; the Avalon has been recognized as an Age-Friendly Business for the steps they have taken to be accessible and inclusive for people of all ages and abilities.
The full report is available at agefriendly.dc.gov.