— Age-Friendly —

What is an Age-Friendly Community?

Communities that promote the health, participation and security of older adults are described as “age-friendly.” Efforts to improve age-friendliness have been underway around the globe, thanks to the World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly Cities Initiative as well as the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Livable Communities Project. These projects work to enhance the lives of older citizens through partnerships between public service agencies, advocacy groups, businesses, educational, faith-based, and cultural organizations. Using this framework, we are making Rhode Island into a much more livable, age-friendly place.

older adults exercising
younger woman helping an older woman by driving
man in a wheel chair in an open public space with arms outstretched
an older woman seated on the grass reaching for her toes.
older man and grandaughter playing
older woman receiving home medical care

Rhode Island’s Older Population on the Rise

Rhode Islanders are living longer than ever. Projections from the Statewide Planning Office indicate that by 2030.

  • The percentage of people age 65+ will increase from 15.8% in 2014 to 23.1% in 2030.
  • By 2040, there will be a 100% increase in people aged 74  - 84 and a 72% increase in those 85+
  • Rhode Island also has the highest proportion of adults age 85+ in the country.

These changing demographic trends present a unique opportunity to tap into Rhode Island's ingenuity, creativity and sense of community to develop solutions to the evolving needs in our State.

Health Issues Increase

Studies reflect what we all suspect; health issues often increase with age. Data from the Rhode Island Department of Health found that the majority of older Rhode Islanders have two or more chronic diseases, while 50% of those over the age of 85 have some sort of physical limitation.

The recently released Rhode Island 2016 Healthy Aging Data Report funded by the Tufts Health Plan Foundation provides community profiles for every city and town including population characteristics and healthy aging indicators. This report is a valuable tool to support healthy aging in Rhode Island.

Domains Of Livability: Nine Key Areas of focus

The nine domains, or key areas of concern, identified as being the most vital to elderly Rhode Islanders are:

  • Communication and Information — offering comprehensive information so that older adults can learn about crucial support services
  • Transportation — providing both private and public modes that are affordable to keep seniors mobile
  • Community and Civic Engagement — social participation, volunteering and employment are some of the ways seniors remain connected to and contributing to the community
  • Food Security and Nutrition — assuring access to food that meets nutritional needs and food preferences
  • Economic Security — to maintain basic living standards and ensure financial well-being in meeting expenses for housing, food, healthcare and personal needs
  • Healthcare Access — ensure quality medical care, including preventative, rehabilitative, behavioral, palliative and hospice care
  • Outdoor Spaces & Public Buildings — safe streets, accessible buildings and green spaces for physical exercise and recreation
  • Housing — a wide range of affordable options to meet seniors’ needs and preferences to allow them to safely age in the community
  • Supports to Remain at Home — fostering aging in place by adapting homes to accommodate changes that occur with aging, and provide affordable support services

Currently a coalition of stakeholders is working to help build an Age-Friendly Rhode Island.  Join us!