County Executive’s Corner: “Age-Friendly”

By County Executive Ed Day

Rockland County’s Office for the Aging (RCOFA) is now an Age-Friendly Center of Excellence. This designation comes with a $100,000 grant from the New York State Office for the Aging, which will be used to develop and improve Rockland’s Age-Friendly and Livable Communities.

This funding will be extremely helpful in planning for the future of our seniors which are a rapidly growing population. Having just turned 68 in August I know firsthand some of the challenges we face and I promise you that we will continue to work to make our communities more livable for residents of all ages. This will improve outcomes for the very young, the very old and everyone in between.

The next step in this process is to develop a roadmap for incorporating age-friendly considerations in County government and other local municipalities. The goal is to create and foster healthier, more integrated communities that allow New Yorkers of all ages to easily access services, take part in civic activities, and move around their community without being dependent on an automobile. This is achieved through system-level changes, such as offering incentives for age-friendly concepts, establishing new program and procurement guidelines, or implementing regulatory changes.

RCOFA was also inducted into the AARP Network of Age Friendly Communities. They recognized that we have made a commitment to actively work with residents and local advocates to make this County an age-friendly place to live.

There are now more New Yorkers age 65 and over than under 13. As more of our residents move towards retirement are we must respond and do everything we can to improve health and quality of life for residents of all ages.

I must also give kudos to RCOFA Director Tina Cardoza-Izquierdo and her team. They have done an amazing job improving upon our existing programs and are always looking for new ways for our Office for the Aging to grow and better serve our residents. None of this would have been possible without their hard work and dedication.

I urge all of you to help us and get involved in this process. Your ideas and involvement are extremely helpful as we look to create and foster healthier, more integrated communities. Together we will transform Rockland and all of New York into the healthiest, most age-friendly state in our nation.