Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl has signed a pledge promising to make Evanston more friendly and comfortable for older residents.
The “Best Cities for Successful Aging Mayor’s Pledge,” created by the nonprofit Milken Institute, promises that Tisdahl will improve health and wellness resources, as well as provide more employment opportunities for the elderly, according to a news release from the city.
“Evanston is a great place to grow up and grow old,” Mayor Tisdahl said in the release. “I’m proud to join the Milken Institute and mayors across the country in continuing to improve the lives of older adults in Evanston and cities nationwide.”
Through the pledge, mayors vow to provide older residents with access to housing, more options for mobility in transportation and affordable living.
Previous to the pledge, Evanston developed an initiative in May to focus on making the city more age friendly.
“At this point, we’re gathering information from residents to get input from them,” said Susan Cherco, chairman for the Age Friendly task force. “The idea is to come together with proposals that will improve the age friendliness of Evanston.”
The task force, centered around goals laid out in the “Age Friendly Evanston” plan, is using a template from the World Health Organization, which designates standards for eight areas of community life. Evanston joined WHO’s “Age Friendly Cities” program last April.
“I think this is not just an Evanston issue, in general some of the critical things are transportation and affordable housing,” Cherco said. “Those are issues across the country.”
According to guidelines from WHO, the task force has two years to design proposals and three more years to implement them — a five-year plan overall.
Although there is room for improvement in Evanston, Cherco commended the city for what it has already accomplished.
“In many ways, Evanston is already a very age-friendly city compared to other cities,” Cherco said. “So what we’re looking to do is make it better. We want to have all city projects have someone who can look at it from an age-friendly lens and see what impact every project has on the age-friendliness of the city.”
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