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Aging Action Initiative Aging in Marin: It's a Whole New Scene

From Supervisor Kate Sears:

On August 7, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the submission of the County of Marin’s application to join the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities, and also to join the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities. We are delighted to be launching this Age-Friendly County of Marin Initiative.

Currently, 27 percent of Marin County’s population is 60 and older, with one in three Marin residents are projected to be in that age group by 2030. These demographics underline the importance of making our communities livable for residents of every age and ability by focusing on adequate housing, transportation, safe buildings and outdoor spaces, access to health care and social services, good communication, and opportunities for civic engagement and participation, with inclusion and respect for all.

The Board of Supervisors is committed to advancing the age-friendly movement in Marin County and I hope you will join with us, learn more, be engaged and support the various activities, events, services and programs available through our Age-Friendly programs.

County departments are already implementing age-friendly services and programs. For example, the Parks Department offers regular “Senior Strolls.” The Marin County Free Library brings books to people throughout the county via its mobile library, benefiting those who may be homebound, of advanced age, frail and/or who live in rural and unincorporated areas. Cultural Services, which brings arts and entertainment through offerings at the Marin Center and County Fair, recently curated the “80 Over 80” exhibit of 80 works of art by artists 80 years of age or older. This exhibit, professionally juried, showcased the extraordinary talent of local artists, most of whom were present for lively conversation and appreciation at an opening night reception. The annual County Fair, with the inclusive theme this year “All for One and Fun for All”, offers music, art and activities for all ages.

Celebrating the contributions of older adults, while recognizing that more needs to be done, the Board of Supervisors proclaimed 2018 as the Year of the Older Adult. This proclamation represents the culmination of several initiatives, organizations, community policies, programs and services, described further below, that together form a strong foundation on which to build the Age-Friendly County of Marin Initiative.

The Aging Action Initiative (AAI) – A collective impact endeavor formed to promote an age-friendly environment through education, policy advocacy and service coordination. Representatives from more than 100 local nonprofit, public and private sector organizations participate in the AAI.

The Marin Commission on Aging– A highly engaged 23-member advisory council to the Marin County Board of Supervisors. Its mission is to promote the dignity, independence and quality of life of older adults through advocacy, information, programs and services. Commission members, appointed by each of Marin’s incorporated cities and towns as well as the County, are using their skills and talents to reshape our notions of aging and living long and well. The Commission’s leadership has helped Marin County earn a well-deserved reputation as a national forerunner in the age-friendly movement.

Age-Friendly Cities – Six of Marin’s 11 incorporated cities and towns — Corte Madera, Fairfax, Mill Valley, Novato, San Rafael and Sausalito — are members of the WHO and/or AARP age-friendly networks with Sausalito being the first age-friendly city in Marin and one of the first in California. The other five incorporated cities and towns are exploring or preparing to request membership in the networks. Local age-friendly city leaders have formed the Marin Age-Friendly Network to share ideas, opportunities and best practices, discuss challenges and otherwise support each others efforts.

Marin Villages and Sausalito Village – Marin Villages is an alliance of local villages with one central office that focuses on administration, funding and program development, assisting members from around the county. Sausalito Village offers supportive services and volunteer opportunities, as well as educational, cultural, fitness and social activities to help members live independently and actively in the community. Anticipating the need for mobility, Sausalito Village initiated the Call A Ride for Sausalito Seniors (CARSS) program, giving older adults in the community a network of volunteer drivers to help get them where they need to go.

The Marin County Area Agency on Aging – Planner, funder and advocate for older adults in Marin. More than 20 programs are provided directly or through community-based organizations, including assisted transportation, case management, congregate and home-delivered meals, family caregiver support, and senior center activities.

Community-Based Organizations – Dozens of community-based organizations provide services to older adults, their families and caregivers in Marin, including 15 organizations contracted by the Area Agency on Aging. Together, they form a strong service network for Marin residents.

Join Us! If you find yourself with a little extra time and are interested in learning more about any of these organizations, please call my office at (415)473-7331 and let us help you invest yourself in making Marin an even better place for all ages. These are exciting times for older adults here in Marin and I hope you will join with us.

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