News & Press
The AARP declared Macon-Bibb County the first “Age-Friendly Community” in the United States
Macon-Bibb is the first of seven US communities to join a worldwide network that share strategies and other resources to be more responsive to the needs of older adults.
Macon spokesman Chris Floore says this means the community is already "age-friendly" but also that its leaders have committed to improving conditions for "older citizens."
"Age-friendly" is defined by the AARP as "an inclusive and accessible urban or suburban environment that encourages active and healthy aging."
In April, the AARP flew Macon Mayor Robert Reichert and Bibb Chairman Sam Hart to Washington, DC, to participate in the national kick-off for the program.
Later that spring, the advocacy organization made a presentation to Macon City Council explaining the "age-friendly" network and its benefits. Council passed a resolution in May to join the network.
Because of Macon's designation, Reichert was asked to moderate a June panel on planning for aging populations at the annual Georgia Municipal Association Conference in Savannah.
But Floore says the city's focus is not on aging populations alone. The principles of a more "walkable, liveable, sustainable" city attract young professionals too, he says.
The county shares that perspective.
Bibb spokesman Kevin Barrere said, viaemail, "We are designated as an Age-Friendly Community because of steps that we were already taking as well as a commitment to implement a multi-year plan to become more accessible, convenient and user-friendly for residents and visitors of all ages."
For Macon-Bibb, the next step after the designation means establishing an advisory citizens committee and setting up workshops conducted by the AARP
"As Macon-Bibb's boomer population ages, the area's businesses and services are affected along with the residents," said Karen Cooper, associate state director of outreach for AARP Georgia, in a news release. "But if we understand and plan to address the needs and opportunities presented by an aging population, we can improve Macon-Bibb's services, business climate and infrastructure for everyone."The six cities following Macon-Bibb are: New York City; Philadelphia; Portland, OR; Des Moines; Bowling Green, KY; and Westchester County, NY.