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Senate Aging Committee Examines Age-Friendly Initiatives in both Rural and Urban Settings

Age-friendly communities can reduce social isolation and loneliness in older Americans

Click HERE for a copy of Senator Collins’ remarks

Click HERE for a copy of Senator Casey’s remarks

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Bob Casey, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Aging Committee, held a hearing this morning to examine age-friendly initiatives across the country. Today’s hearing, titled, “Aging with Community: Building Connections that Last a Lifetime,” was the second hearing in a two-part series shining a light on the growing phenomenon of loneliness affecting older Americans. The first hearing in this series explored the mental, physical, and emotional consequences of social isolation.

“Isolation and loneliness can have serious, even deadly, consequences for the health and well-being of our nation’s seniors. Our hearing today looked at some of the solutions that will help build a strong sense of community, therefore leading to healthier, happier lives for older Americans,” said Senator Collins. “Initiatives to create age-friendly communities have grown organically across the country in response to local needs, and I am proud that dozens of towns across Maine are leading the way.”

“Our hearing today highlights the great work cities and towns in Pennsylvania and across the country are doing to help older Americans age well in their communities,” Senator Casey said. “We know that the federal government must help by making smart investments in our nation’s infrastructure to ensure that communities are safe, accessible, and ready to meet the needs of older Americans.”

While seniors prefer to age at home, aging in place poses a number of challenges like home maintenance, mobility and transportation, and access to programs and services. The number of Americans age 65 and older is projected to double by 2060, and improvements to infrastructure and opportunities for our aging population will be needed to respond to this unprecedented demographic shift.

Age-friendly communities come in many forms and develop in response to local needs. The committee heard from four program directors, who described initiatives in both rural and urban settings that focus on transportation, housing, social engagement, technology, outdoor space and buildings, as well as informational campaigns and cultural efforts to create a positive experience for our aging population and individuals with disabilities.

Witnesses for the hearing included:

  • Lindsay Goldman, LMSW, The New York Academy of Medicine, Director, Healthy Aging, Center for Health Policy and Programs (New York City, New York)
  • Meg Callaway, Project Director, the Piscataquis Thriving in Place Collaborative (Dover-Foxcroft, Maine)
  • Cathy Bollinger, Managing Director, Embracing Aging, County Community Foundation (York, Pennsylvania)
  • Anamarie Garces, Founding Member, Miami-Dade Age Friendly Initiative (Miami, Florida)

Click HERE to read their testimonies.