Wausau named 'Age Friendly Community'

Published: Apr. 22, 2019 at 12:42 PM CDT
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With a growing aging population, Wausau is proud to announce a new and special designation for it's residents.

To talk about what it means to be an 'Age Friendly Community' the News at Noon was joined byJennifer Cummings, the director of Aging and Wellness for the ADRC of Central Wisconsin, and Wausau Mayor Robert Mielke.

As partners in this development, AARP, the City of Wausau and the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Central WI (ADRC-CW) are committed to be working together to build a community that supports all residents across the life-span.

The goal of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities is to increase the number of communities that support healthy aging, which will thereby improve the health, well-being, satisfaction and quality of life for older Americans and people of all ages. In an age-friendly community, policies, services, settings and structures support and enable people to remain active as they age. This is achieve by:

- Recognizing the wide range of capacities and resources among older individuals

- Anticipating and responding flexibly to aging-related needs and preferences

- Respecting the decisions and lifestyle choices of age 50+ people

- Protecting and supporting older adults who are the most vulnerable

- Promoting the inclusion and contributions of older adults in all aspects of community life

Because active aging is a life-long process, an age-friendly community is not just "elder-friendly." An Age-Friendly community is friendly for people of all ages.

Everyone in the community is aging and looks forward to a positive future. This future includes having good health, social opportunities, safety, accessibility, and supports as defined by the community. An age-friendly community continually works to provide opportunities to meet these interests and needs in a planned manner. Starting this process now will assure that the community can continue to provide support now, and enhance flexibility for people in the future. An age-friendly community promotes local involvement and creativity by people when they are in charge of their community and how it looks.

The city of Wausau has experienced continual growth. The 2010 census reported the city population to be 39,106. The current estimate of individuals age 60+ are at 22%. Population estimates in rural Wisconsin concur that the rural nature of central Wisconsin contributes to the growth of an older population.