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To make Newport a more livable City for residents as they age, a survey is asking residents age 45+ what the City is doing well and what it could do better. 

The survey is running from October 25 – November 29 and is part of the work being done by the City, AARP Rhode Island, and the Newport Partnership for Families to make Newport an even better place to live for its aging population. With 21 percent of the City’s population now age 60 and over, that number is projected to double by 2040. 

A pancake breakfast at the Edward King House, 35 King Street, will celebrate the launch of the survey on Saturday, Nov. 2, from 9 am to 12 pm. The breakfast is in conjunction with an AARP-RI Shred Fest offering area residents free paper shredding for safe and secure disposal of documents.

The survey is available online at the city’s website, Hard copies are available in English and Spanish at City Hall, the Edward King House, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center and various other locations throughout the City.       

In September, Newport became the first community in Rhode Island to be designated an Age-Friendly community by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). Part of an international effort launched in 2006 by the World Health Organization, the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities helps cities prepare for rapidly aging populations and the parallel trend of urbanization.

By becoming part of the Age-Friendly network, Newport made a commitment to improve livability in the City and involve older residents in the process.

Livable communities are safe and secure, have walkable streets, housing and transportation options, inviting parks and open spaces, and offer supports to help residents stay in their communities as they age.

What would make Newport more livable and promote healthy aging in the City? 

Newport residents age 45+ are invited to share what they think the City is doing well and what it could do better in eight areas that influence the health and quality of life for all residents as they age.

The eight areas of focus for the age-friendly process being assessed by the survey are:

  1. Outdoor spaces and buildings
  2. Transportation
  3. Housing
  4. Social participation
  5. Respect and social inclusion
  6. Civic participation and employment
  7. Communication and information
  8. Community support and health services

The survey is the first step in determining areas in need of age-friendly work to promote livability for all ages and responsiveness to the City’s growing older population. The analysis will serve as the foundation for crafting a Strategic Action Plan to address the identified needs of its older citizens. Beginning in 2020, a Strategic Action Plan will be designed to move the City forward in fostering age-friendliness and healthy aging. 

Newport’s Age-Friendly initiative originated out of the Newport Partnership for Families when several members, recognizing the growing needs of aging Newporters, began investigating Age-Friendly projects in Massachusetts. Support from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation provided a report showing significant alignment of the City’s Comprehensive Plan with the eight Age-Friendly domains of WHO/AARP. 

Bolstered with that information, a steering committee was formed and the Newport for All Ages (NFAA) Initiative was launched. A core team of stakeholders and older adults representing different segments of the Newport community have been recruited to work on the needs assessment and Strategic Action Plan.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.  Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in...