Age Friendly Evanston! committee discusses action plan

Jennifer Ball, Assistant City Editor

The chairs of Age Friendly Evanston! presented their individual action plans Tuesday regarding how they hope to make the city a more age-friendly community.

The individual action plans presented will be combined into a more comprehensive plan in the future.

The plan will seek to improve areas of Evanston, such as housing and infrastructure, to make the city more accessible to residents of all ages. The five-year process began in October 2013 and will include a three-year implementation of the action plan.

The plan will use a World Health Organization template to make Evanston more livable for both young and old residents. The eight domains of the plan will include: community and health care, transportation, housing, social participation, outdoor spaces and buildings, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, and communication and information.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl also signed a pledge at the beginning of October promising to make Evanston more age friendly and expand resources.

Christina Ferraro, assistant director for Evanston community services, said at the meeting they wanted to send the message that residents can grow up and grow old in Evanston.

City officials said they planned to have roundtable discussions with seniors throughout the plan-creation process to gauge their opinions. Resident Beverly Shearer, 66, told The Daily in October 2013 she wished the city would have started earlier on the initiative so they could have more completed.

Susan Cherco, chairman of the task force, said Tuesday they had about 15 focus groups so far.

“In general, people think age-friendly initiatives are a good thing,” Cherco said.

She added that the initiative needs more promotion because it is not widely known.

Ferraro said at the meeting the question the committee needs to ask is what it means to create the most livable city.

About 12 percent of Evanston’s population is 65 years and older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The plan was spurred in response to the “Baby Boomer” generation and the increasing older population, according to a survey report for the initiative. Ferraro said the hub of the Age Friendly movement is Portland, Oregon.

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Previous stories on this topic:

    Mayor Tisdahl signs pledge to make Evanston more age friendly
    Evanston starts initiative to make city age-friendly
    Evanston looks to build ‘age-friendly’ community