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New Haven Joins Worldwide Pilot to Measure Aging-Friendly Cities

The World Health Organization has selected Greater New Haven as one of 15 urban areas worldwide to pilot a planned ?age-friendly city indicator guide?.  

The guide will be designed to measure areas where cities and communities can better adapt to the needs of older people. 

Mark Abraham, executive director of Data Haven, is collaborating on the project. "The World Health Organization has a framework that looks at the physical infrastructure," he said, "like the layout of streets and communities, and the social engagement, like how effective government is at responding to the needs of seniors. [It also looks at] how engaged seniors are in their communities."

A framework for a livable community involves multiple aspects.
Credit Connecticut Commission on Aging
Connecticut Commission on Aging
A framework for a livable community involves multiple aspects.

Other participating urban areas include Hong Kong, New Delhi, Shanghai, and Washington, D.C.

According to data from the state Commission on Aging, Connecticut was the seventh-oldest state in the nation in 2011. Between 2010 and 2025, Connecticut?'s older population is expected to increase more than 50 percent.

Abraham said transportation is another key area to consider. "Older adults will generally live about ten years longer now than the'y?re expected to be able to drive," he said. "In other words, people will maybe drive into their 70s or early 80s -- but then be expected to live another ten years. So it's important to make sure that they?'re still able to get out of their house, and interact with their communities."

Municipal services for older adults vary widely among Connecticut' ?s towns and cities.

Abraham said he hopes data collected in Greater New Haven will help communities better plan for significant increases to the global aging population.

Diane Orson is a special correspondent with Connecticut Public. She is a longtime reporter and contributor to National Public Radio. Her stories have been heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Here And Now. Diane spent seven years as CT Public Radio's local host for Morning Edition.

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