Miami-Dade County

What it’s like to live in an age-friendly place

One of the local age-friendly initiatives included a look into ways of improving pedestrian safety in Little Havana.
One of the local age-friendly initiatives included a look into ways of improving pedestrian safety in Little Havana. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Miami-Dade County, along with the Miami-Dade Age-Friendly Initiative, joined a prestigious network of more than 380 cities and global communities committed to promoting greater health, well-being and quality of life for people of all ages, when AARP Florida, in affiliation with the World Health Organization, awarded them a special designation.

The acceptance into the Network of Age-Friendly Communities is a big deal because it demonstrates commitment and action toward age-friendly practices. What’s more, Miami-Dade County has the largest population of 60-and-over adults in Florida, with half a million seniors. That demographic is expected to grow to 800,000 by 2040.

Miami-Dade is the fifth largest community in the U.S. to join the global network. It is also one of just a handful of counties.

To achieve this milestone, the county and the Age Friendly Initiative, a local collaborative effort to promote both the physical and mental well-being of older adults, worked on a variety of projects: developing age-friendly parks standards; working with partners to make age-friendly changes to the County’s Comprehensive Development Master Plan and Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Long Range Transportation Plan; empowering older adults in Little Havana to identify changes needed to improve safety within their neighborhood; drafting an Action Plan with community partners; and developing an awareness and educational campaign including a summit and workshops about the importance of focusing on the needs of older adults and making communities age-friendly.

"Older adults are an important part of our diverse, world-class community," Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said in a statement. "Joining this network shows that we remain committed to working with our many community partners to continue making Miami-Dade County a place where our 2.7 million residents can enjoy every phase of their lives to the absolute fullest.”

The designation will allow Miami-Dade to connect with other communities to trade ideas, strategies and resources. With membership to the global network secured, the Initiative will now kick off its next phase with a survey that will inform the expansion and finalization of an Action Plan for continued age-friendly efforts in the county.

The Miami-Dade Age-Friendly Initiative was launched in 2012 with a grant from Grantmakers In Aging to the Health Foundation of South Florida. Since then the collaborative efforts have expanded to include other partners,including AARP Florida, the Alliance for Aging, Miami-Dade County, Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization, United Way of Miami-Dade, and Urban Health Partnerships.