By Tammy Murga
Signal Staff Writer
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved an action plan Tuesday aimed at creating a more age-friendly region and the Santa Clarita Valley is included in all aspects of the plan.
“Today’s action by the Board of Supervisors is a reflection of our dedication to meet the needs of our older adults — a population that continues to grow each day,” the office of Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose district covers the SCV, said in an email statement. “We are committed to our aging population in all communities across the county, including the Santa Clarita Valley.”
The plan, known as the Age-Friendly Action Plan, comes as part of the Purposeful Aging Los Angeles Initiative, launched by the county and city of L.A. in 2016 to prepare for a growing older adult population that is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, according a news release by the county’s Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services Department.
Within the next three years, the plan is designed to improve several aspects of communities including transportation, housing and health services.
These key areas were chosen after PALA led an extensive effort to engage diverse older adults and stakeholders in developing the action plan, which included listening sessions regionally and a 2017 countywide survey to identify community priorities.
“A countywide survey to assess community priorities was launched, as well as partnering with AARP to hold listening sessions in 10 communities throughout the county, including one in Santa Clarita,” said Cynthia D. Banks, director of WDACS.
In the 100-plus page Purposeful Aging report, the action plan breaks down each key section, with 34 recommendations set to guide efforts toward more age-friendly communities.
For example, to improve transportation systems for older adults, communities are recommended to explore innovative collaborations with transportation network companies, provide outreach on transportation options and increase the menu of services available that cross jurisdictional lines.
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl (District 3) said in the news release that “…we must ensure that our communities are age-friendly, and include walkable streets, easy access to grocery stores and services, as well as opportunities for older adults to stay engaged through volunteering or other community activities.”
Banks added that, as the plan executes, insights gained to inform age-friendly efforts will be shared with those in SCV and collaboration from the area will be needed.
Besides the development of the Age-Friendly Action Plan, PALA has also launched or supported other events like the Annual Older Adult Summit and the Bringing our Loved Ones Home Initiative.