Hackensack, N.J. – Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco and the Board of Commissioners today announced that the County of Bergen has been officially designated an Age-Friendly community by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities.
“One of the best measures of a community is how it treats its residents especially our Seniors,” said County Executive Tedesco. “We have a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to in Bergen County with our Age-Friendly initiative to continue to promote opportunities for Older Adults. With over 3,000 counties and nearly 20,000 towns in the United States, we are extremely excited to be one of only 380 members that have become officially certified by AARP and part of the growing Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities.
“In Bergen County we value our seniors, and we have worked very hard to ensure our residents can age in place surrounded by friends and loved ones,” said Commissioner Chairwoman Tracy Zur. “We’re proud of this designation, but we’re not done yet. We’ll continue to look for ways to make Bergen County more age friendly with every program and initiative we undertake.”
In New Jersey, Bergen County has the largest population of people aged 60 and over and account for over 20 percent of the County’s overall population. In 1966, Bergen County took the first steps in creating an “age-friendly” community by establishing the Division of Senior Services under Federal Legislation of the Older Americans Act to service county residents age 60 and over, and the Division is the primary planning, coordinating and funding agency for senior programs and services, promoting the well-being, health, and independence of Bergen County’s over 200,000 adults age 60 and over. These critical programs provide our Seniors with essential services in order to remain in their homes and communities as they age. However it is not only access to quality health care and long-term care services that are essential to our residents but access to libraries, houses of worship, transportation, healthy activities and community centers that are also vital to their well-being.
Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Programs encourage and promote public and private policies to increase the number of cities and communities that support healthy aging and better quality of life for people as they age; this philosophy has been one of the fundamental principles for our decisions at the County. This holistic approach is aligned with the pillars of AARP’s Age Friendly initiatives and is a wonderful model of excellence. The County of Bergen is proud to continue to find ways to maximize the use of our parks and buildings, to continue to develop and improve transportation, work with community partners to increase access to affordable housing, bolster respect and social inclusion and participation, enhance communication and information to ensure that we implement policies and provide programs that encourage these core pillars benefit people of all ages.
“We’re honored to have Bergen County join the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities,” said Stephanie Hunsinger, AARP New Jersey State Director. “The common thread among enrolled communities is the belief that we can better support people of all ages. As the second county in New Jersey to join the Age-Friendly Network, Bergen County has demonstrated this belief and we commend the county’s leaders for their vision and commitment to improve the quality of life for the very young, the very old and everyone in between.”
Bergen County supports initiatives and opportunities of the AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly Communities and WHO’s Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Program and recognizes that a well-designed, livable community promotes health and sustains economic growth, and makes for happier, healthier residents of all ages.