TUCSON, Ariz. - In Pima County, about a quarter of our neighbors are sixty years old, or older---that percentage is almost sure to grow as more people retire here and more people live longer.
Now, the City of Tucson has just approved an action plan to make our area a better place to live for older people---and everyone.
Tucson's beautiful weather and affordable living attract all sorts of people but there's always room to improve.
Claude Zoref would like to see: "More services for people that are old and stuff like that that need help and things like that. The services are kind of weaker here than in New York. It's very age friendly in New York compared to out here."
Patricia Womack says, "I live in an apartment and I think it would be nice if there were handicapped, it would be nice it there were more handicapped spaces in here, the little ramp things."
Items like better access for handicapped are just a small part of an Age-Friendly Action Plan, just approved by Tucson City Council.
For about two and a half years, a team from the City of Tucson, Pima Council on Aging, the Elder Alliance and AARP gathered suggestions for a five year plan to enhance areas important to older people including:
-Outdoor space and buildings---like parks.
-Safe, convenient transportation options
-Affordable housing suitable for disabilities,
-Social participation through cultural activities
-Respect and social inclusion, including efforts to end age discrimination
-Civic participation and employment through age-friendly business practices and volunteer opportunities
-Communication and information tailored for older adults
-Community and health services.
Maddy Bynes of Pima Council on Aging says the action plan's goals benefit people of any age.
"If you make a city livable for someone who is eight years old and 80 years old, you're going to make it livable for people in between. So a lot of things that we look at are things that people who are younger, also want."
And those goals will help decide where the city puts it's resources in the years to come.