Albany County Embarks on Age Friendly Community Status

Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy held a press conference at his annual Senior Summit on October 26 to announce  that the county has been designated as the 101st community in the country to receive “age friendly” certification from AARP and the World Health Organization.  The county is now going to form a committee to begin the process of reviewing guidelines and benchmarks that are suggested for communities that want to enact policies and programs that are deemed age friendly.

AARP serves as the United States partner with the World Health Organization (WHO) which has organized the age friendly designations and encouraged communities around the world to apply for this status.  There are over 200 communities worldwide which has been designated.

Over 250 seniors and staff from provider agencies attended the third annual summit that McCoy’s office has convened with the Albany County Office for the Aging.  The event was held at St. Sophia’s Church in Albany which is in an area designated as  a “neighborhood NORC” or Naturally Occurring Retirement Community as designated and funded by the State Office for the Aging.

I was pleased along with Dr. Pat Binzer to be asked to co-chair the county’s age friendly initiative.  We will be forming a committee to begin meeting soon.  In my remarks at the press conference, I noted that Albany County is “age friendly” already as evidenced by the large turnout and the new designation by the WHO provides a framework for the grassroots activism  in the area.   Ultimately, it is the commitment and support of neighbors,  nonprofits, businesses and government at the community and neighborhood levels that makes it possible for older residents to be able to have a good quality of life.

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I have been a senior advocate for most of my career. I was Executive Director of the New York StateWide Senior Action Council and the New York State Alliance for Retired Americans. In 2007-2010 I was the Director of the New York State Office for the Aging

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