About Age Friendly Lehigh Valley
Ensuring that older adults in the Lehigh Valley can thrive mentally, emotionally and physically is the goal of the Age Friendly Lehigh Valley Action Plan; a guide outlining the community tools needed to ensure that age-friendly programs, services, and policy are available and accessible to all.
This plan serves as a call to action to change our attitudes here in the Lehigh Valley towards ageism, equity and inclusion
None of us is stamped with an expiration date, but our attitudes towards aging and older adults are often negative, with older adults often painted by our culture as frail and burdensome. What many of us are beginning to realize, however, is that as communities across the world are growing older, aging is a privilege. Rather than fear the aging process or the elderly for their real or perceived frailties, we should honor their lives and contributions. We should celebrate and cherish our elderly for all that we can learn from them. Indeed, history is bridged by the life experiences of those who witnessed it firsthand. Embracing and supporting the older adult journey allows us to honor the contributions of those who built the communities we share, and equips us to face our own life-journey.
The Age Friendly Lehigh Valley Plan is a paradigm shift in policy and programming; a collective community pivot from programs and services targeted to the individual, to initiatives designed to serve our community as a whole.
We seek to enhance the Valley’s broader physical and social environments so that seniors can function optimally in their own homes; to be so elder-friendly that current residents desire to remain, former residents of all ages want to move home, and new residents are drawn here to retire.
Honed in the wake of COVID-19, this plan addresses ongoing and emerging needs for reducing social isolation, overcoming inequities, and combating ageism in the Lehigh Valley. This plan is the culmination of years of community participation and planning, following the acceptance into the AARP Age-Friendly Communities Network as of June of 2018, becoming the first dual-counties to join the World Health Organization/AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, and kicking off a five-year planning, implementation, and evaluation cycle. For the first few years, we convened local leaders in committees and meetings, mobilized neighbors through workshops and forums, collected and organized data, and gathered feedback with listening tours.
Bringing this plan to life is made possible by the continued dedication of our existing partners and cohorts and will depend on new partners joining the movement—local leaders, businesses, organizations, and residents—all contributing their strengths, resources, and unique perspectives as our region’s age demographics shift and opportunities arise. The plan outlines how we will leverage existing community strengths and programs while also championing new efforts. Together we are forging an age-friendly Lehigh Valley, empowering older adults and the stakeholders who serve them to bring about change at a community level.
After distilling what we have heard, the Age-Friendly Lehigh Valley Action Plan lists Action Items to be tackled over the next three years that will make our region more livable and inclusive for every generation by addressing key issues facing older adults, including ageism, social isolation, and equity. The Action Items outlined in this plan are grouped into designated focus areas, or domains of livability. (Learn More)