Just as the human body needs a good diet and exercise to thrive, the places we live, work and play – our communities – grow stronger with a plan for getting better with age.
In Dallas, an effort is underway to make this a more livable city for everyone, whether you are eight years old, 80 or older. And what’s great about this effort is that we all have the opportunity to help and to shape the future of Dallas.
Public discussions about how to improve our community will come about as the City of Dallas Senior Services Program and community groups develop a five-year strategy on how to improve the livability of the city for people of all ages.
To build awareness of what’s happening, AARP and a popular social networking group, IACT (Innovation in Aging, Caregiving and Technology, a meetup.com group), will hold monthly in-person meetings about big issues facing Dallas.
Only a few months ago, Dallas took a big step toward becoming a more age-friendly place when it entered the AARP Network of Age Friendly Communities. The nationwide network involves dozens of communities, including other major Texas cities like Fort Worth, and seeks to help towns and cities find ways to strengthen the quality of neighborhoods. The work entails devising safer, walkable streets, better housing and transportation options, access to key services, and finding opportunities for all residents to engage in their community.
As I see it, Dallas leaders now have new opportunities to discuss and invest in community essentials like outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, and housing. There’s also room for conversations about the other things that make for a great community like social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, and community and health services.
Dallas is a healthy and vibrant community. Now, as the city crafts a strategy for becoming more age-friendly, we have the opportunity to set the standard for what it means to be a world-class community for people of all ages.
Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Susan Williams. Susan is an associate state director with AARP Texas and can be reached at 1-866-551-5377.