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May 1, 2017 | This April, the Age Friendly Fairfax Task Force submitted a five-year plan to the World Health Organization (WHO). The plan is the culmination of several years effort meet the challenge of growing older with dignity and in comfort in the Marin County Town of Fairfax.

In the summer of 2014, Fairfax volunteers and elected officials began discussing how the town might enhance services for older adults and improve their lives. Given that Marin County has the state’s fastest growing senior population, the group felt an imperative to move quickly to better accommodate the town’s beloved elders.

According to the American Community Survey, 24% of Fairfax residents were projected to be 60 years or older in 2015.

With the support and encouragement of both the Town Council and the Marin County Board of Supervisors’ Commission on Aging, the Town of Fairfax formed an Age-friendly Task Force and applied to the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities in December. It was granted admission into the global network in March 2015.

In 2015, the WHO granted age-friendly status to the Town of Fairfax, and it became the second Marin County municipality to join the network.

All network members share a commitment to promoting healthy and active aging and a good quality of life for older residents. The network aims to advance programs that foster healthy aging and the full participation of elders. It also provides a resource roadmap for cities and communities to become more supportive of older people.

The WHO network requires a commitment to participate in a five-year continuing cycle of community assessment, planning, improvement and evaluation of eight environmental and social domains of livability that contribute to active and healthy aging.

The five-year cycle begins with a two-year planning process, which the community can design itself. Typically, the process begins with an assessment of the community’s current and desired age friendliness, followed by strategic planning and an action plan.

The town is expected to implement the plan over the next three years, between 2017 and 2019, then will evaluate progress and submit a report to the WHO network.

The WHO requests communities examine eight areas during the assessment and planning process:
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

To read the Age Friendly Fairfax Community Assessment 2015 – 2016 and Strategic Action Plan 2017 – 2019, click here.