KJ: Augusta may seek AARP’s Age-Friendly Community designation

By Keith Edwards, Kennebec Journal

March 11, 2016

AUGUSTA — The things that could make Augusta a more livable place for senior citizens would do the same for residents of all ages, an AARP official told Augusta officials who are considering whether to seek the agency’s Age-Friendly Community designation.

Lori Parham, state director of AARP in Maine, told city councilors Thursday that surveys show people who are members of the two largest generations – older baby boomers and younger millennials – are looking for many of the same things when they choose where to live.

Things sought by the two demographic groups, which together comprise some 150 million people, include short commutes; proximity to shops, restaurants and offices; a mix of homes; a mix of incomes; and the availability of public transportation.

“People want livable communities, and boomers and millennials have similar preferences in communities,” Parham said.

“They would move to a smaller home to be close to what they want. They want to be near shops, restaurants, and offices. And they prefer to live where there is a mix of homes, not only with people of the same ages.”

Ward 2 Councilor Darek Grant agreed, noting many of the amenities – including hiking trails, easy access to services, and affordable quality housing – that help make life better for senior citizens really have the same effect on everyone.

“A lot of these items, I’d argue, are things we’re all striving for,” he said.

“I think Augusta is a good fit for this. It’s age-friendly, but it’s also resident-friendly in general.”

Mayor David Rollins said councilors would consider a motion to seek to join AARP’s Age-Friendly Communities Network at their meeting next week, which begins at 7 p.m. Thursday at Augusta City Center.

Parham said to join the network, city officials should write a letter to AARP, then an advisory committee of citizens would be formed to begin the process of working to make improvements to make the community more age-friendly.

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