Committed To Becoming More Age-Friendly
Grand Rapids United States of America
The City of Grand Rapids administers both traditional services oriented to older adults, as well as some innovative approaches. The Grand Rapids Housing Commission provides assistance to low income families, the disabled, and senior citizens. We also promote alternative programs including a GR HomeShare pilot program that brings together seniors with anyone looking for affordable housing to share a home. This serves both a housing need and provides companionship/assistance for the hosting senior. Our Parks and Recreations Department also offers programs and activities oriented towards older adults. Other services such as the 311 information line also provide a single conduit to information that citizens need over the phone, which is highly beneficial to seniors who may have limited mobility or are uncomfortable with the use of the website/technology. In addition to direct services, we also maintain close working relationships with other agencies that provide support and services for older adults such as The Grand Rapids Housing Commission, The Rapid (transit authority), Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan, Disability Advocates of Kent County, and others.
In 2017, we reached out to older adults through interviews, paper and online surveys, and a 23 location listening tour asking: “What would make Grand Rapids more age-friendly?” From this outreach, we received more than 2,000 comments/suggestions. This feedback is the basis of our four emerging themes: Outdoor Spaces & Buildings, Housing, Transportation, and Communication. To date, more than 400 residents have volunteered/expressed interest in additional participation. This engagement will take place through the Mayor’s Advisory Council and Work Groups. The Advisory Council, which is made up primarily of older adults, will identify goals and action steps which will be used in our Age-Friendly Action Plan. The Work Groups will continue the work by verifying the goals and adding timelines and progress indicators. Invitations to the Work Groups will be extended to this full list of 400 residents, which is comprised primarily of older adults.