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Monroe County Recognized as an Age-Friendly Community by AARP

County Executive Adam Bello

The AARP has designated the Monroe County as an Age-Friendly Community. County Executive Adam Bello revealed one key focus is the county's inaugural age-friendly livable community plan in anticipation of the growing population of older adults. The plan, "Creating a Community for a Lifetime," was crafted in collaboration with the Monroe County Aging Alliance (MCAA). According to reports, it offers a unified strategy for governments, non-profit organizations, funders, and residents to enhance our community and transform it into a welcoming environment for individuals of all ages.


"Today, we celebrate the fruitful partnership that has been established to create a community where individuals can age gracefully,' Bello said. "One of my early directives upon taking office as County Executive was to ensure that all Monroe County departments incorporate age-friendly practices into their initiatives and make decisions through a lens that prioritizes age-friendly considerations."


The older adult population in the county is on the rise, with a significant milestone reached as 25% of county residents, totaling 192,000 people, are now aged 60 and above. Data is projected to climb to 215,000 by 2030 according to reports. Reports also confirm suburbs are witnessing a major demographic shift, with 82% of county residents aged 65 and older residing in our surrounding towns.


"Our elders are the pillars of our community, and we depend on their wisdom and experience. The AARP age-friendly community designation signifies that Rochester and Monroe County are evolving into better places for individuals of all ages, whether they are six, sixty, or a hundred and six. We are committed to working together to guarantee that our elders have access to housing, transportation, healthcare, and social networks that enable them to fully engage in our community," said Mayor Malik D. Evans.


The MCAA is a joint effort between the Rochester Area Community Foundation and the United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes, comprising 20 member organizations with representatives from fields such as aging, healthcare, academia, and local government. In December 2021, the Alliance conducted research on community assets, surveyed older residents and community stakeholders, and formulated a set of recommendations to make the county more inclusive and accessible across nine key areas.


Leanne Rorick, co-director of the Monroe County Aging Alliance, stated, "The MCAA, in collaboration with a diverse array of community stakeholders, is integrating age-friendly planning principles throughout Rochester and Monroe County, enhancing accessibility and inclusivity in our community spaces, services, and places. Together, we are constructing a more inclusive community that caters to all generations."


Various leaders and organizations within the community, including Lifespan of Greater Rochester, the United Way of Greater Rochester the Finger Lakes, and the Rochester Area Community Foundation, expressed their support and commitment to the initiative. They emphasized the importance of creating a community that fosters healthy aging and provides opportunities for individuals to thrive at every stage of life.


Bello's administration believes Monroe County has already achieved several age-friendly objectives, such as launching a new Senior Nutrition Program in the City of Rochester, enhancing accessibility and inclusivity in park facilities, constructing pickleball courts in county parks, and offering digital literacy classes for older adults. 

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