Lehigh and Northampton Counties Join AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities

Lehigh and Northampton County announced June 11, 2018 they were officially accepted into the AARP Age-Friendly Communities Network. They joined Allegheny County as the only other counties in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with this distinction and honor, and became the first dual-counties to join the World Health Organization/AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities

The announcement featured AARP Pennsylvania State President Joanne Grossi, Ray Landis, Senior Manger Advocacy, Carmen Bell, Director of Healthy Aging at United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley(UWGLV), as well as Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong, and Northampton County Deputy Director of Administration, Becky Bartlett, representing Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure who also supports the initiative.

Lehigh Valley municipalities were also well represented with Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez and Allentown Mayor Ray O’Connell in attendance.  In addition, representatives for the offices of State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, Ryan Mackenzie and Justin Simmons were also present to show their support.

“Today is a remarkable and crucial day for the Lehigh Valley.  I am overjoyed by the multitude of support from our municipalities and the cooperation between the AARP and UWGLV.  This network will allow us as leaders to apply best practices and learn from the success of other cities and counties so that we can build a truly age-friendly environment that prioritizes health and happiness,” said Armstrong.

Those present all expressed an enduring support and commitment to ensuring that the Lehigh Valley remains a place where aging communities can continue to enjoy our culture, commerce and community.

“We are pleased that Lehigh and Northampton counties are taking an active role in identifying and addressing the needs of older residents and, by enrolling in the AARP Age-Friendly Network, seeks to support our communities to become more livable for older adults and their families,” said Grossi.

The AARP Age-Friendly Communities Network provides access to peer evaluation from member communities, access to data and successful age friendly models as well as national recognition for a commitment to a growing older population.

Pennsylvania has 2.2 million residents over the age of 65, accounting for 17.5% of the state’s population according to the PA State Data Center.  The Lehigh Valley is closely aligned with this trend, with 106,000 residents over 65, accounting for 16% of the region’s population according to the UWGLV.