Think about your neighborhood — the infrastructure, the neighbors and the activities around town. Will it be a great place to grow old?
Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh wants to make communities more welcoming to people of all ages.
The local organization, part of a World Health Organization and AARP network that includes 1,000 communities internationally and 654 in the U.S., has announced its first group of Age-Friendly Neighborhoods: the Hill District, Clairton and Coraopolis. These three communities will receive seed funding and support over the next two years to create intergenerational projects and events.
“We want people to think of aging not as something to fear, but as something to celebrate,” says Cassandra Masters, assistant director of Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh. “And we want people to be able to age in their homes as much as possible.”
About 30 neighborhood leaders applied for consideration to the grant program, which includes $10,000 per year to be dispersed to each neighborhood over 12 months beginning on April 30.
“We envision a vibrant and thriving Hill District where community elders can age gracefully and leave a lasting legacy,” says Liz Payne-Hyatt, the Hill District ambassador with Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh.
Each neighborhood may also create programs to build intergenerational relationships among neighbors. This could include technology workshops, job training and advocacy for safer streets in collaboration with community partner Lively Pittsburgh.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to expand upon the support available to Coraopolis older adults,” says Cara Mason, director of economic development at the Coraopolis Community Development Corp. “We seek to break down barriers standing in the way of their independence, health and happiness while creating a more inclusive environment where all ages can thrive together.”
Residents in the Hill District, Clairton and Coraopolis will be able to volunteer to work on Age-Friendly projects once they are announced. An Age-Friendly Neighborhoods Launch Party will be held on Saturday, April 30, from 1-3 p.m. at the Frick Environmental Center.
Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh plans to select three more neighborhoods for the program in two years.
While the concept of Age-Friendly Neighborhoods may seem focused on older adults, it is really about all of us, says Masters.
“I’m a millennial, but I have a lot of connections to people who are older,” says Masters. “I would love to see empathy-building across generations.”