LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) – The City of Little Rock has become the 382nd community to enroll in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, senior citizen advocacy group announced late last week.
AARP’s age-friendly network encourages states, counties, cities, towns and rural areas to prepare for the rapid aging of the U.S. population. The network encourages communities to take action and pay increased attention to the environmental, economic and social features that encourage greater age integration and diversity and create a community that supports residents from the cradle through retirement.
“This is a very important step for us and represents a roadmap for our new age Age-Friendly Little Rock Commission,” said John Eckart, the City’s Director of Parks and Recreation.
The Age-Friendly Little Rock Commission focuses on evaluating the quality and accessibility of services for residents age 55 and older throughout the city. It’s comprised of one member from each of the city’s seven wards and eight at-large members. After taking office in 2019, Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. elevated it from a mayoral task force to a commission, ensuring that its work will continue regardless of who the mayor is.
Through the Age-Friendly Communities program, AARP helps participating municipalities become great places for people of all ages by adopting such features as walkable streets, better housing and transportation options, access to key services, and opportunities for residents to participate in community activities. While many communities are adopting these policies without joining the AARP Network of Age Friendly communities, the network provides a structured process to guide community change and helps serve as a catalyst to educate, encourage, promote and recognize improvements that make communities supportive for residents of all ages.
Importantly, enrollment in the network provides member communities with the resources to become more age-friendly by tapping into national and global research, planning models and best practices.