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Akron, Ohio

City Partners to Launch Age Friendly Akron Initiative


AARP Ohio, The University of Akron, and Direction Home Akron Canton will help facilitate a formal five-year process to make Akron more livable and age friendly

City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Ellen Lander Nischt
Published: 05-23-2019

Today, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan officially enrolled the City of Akron into the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. In partnership with AARP, Direction Home Akron Canton, The University of Akron and the City of Akron’s Senior Citizen’s Commission, the City will embark on a 5-year process to make Akron a more livable and age-friendly community. The official program, called Age-Friendly Akron, will focus on quality of life issues such as housing, public spaces, transportation, community engagement, walkability, complete street design, public health and others that affect the day to day life of Akron’s seniors.


“I’m proud to partner with AARP and the Akron community to conduct this important process,” Mayor Dan Horrigan remarked. Age-Friendly Akron aligns with the work my administration is doing on healthy housing, infrastructure and public space, while enabling us to pay increased attention to the social, economic, and environmental factors that impact the wellbeing and quality of life of our older adults and future older adults.”


“Well-designed, livable communities promote wellbeing, sustain economic growth, and make for happier, healthier residents — of all ages,” said AARP Ohio State Director Barbara A. Sykes. “By becoming part of the network, Akron is making a commitment to improve livability in the city and involve all of Akron, especially older residents in the process,” she said.


In preparation for this process, Akron’s Senior Citizens Commission conducted multiple listening sessions at various community centers across the city. “We wanted to take the pulse of the community and determine what is most important to Akron’s seniors,” said Harvey Sterns, Chair of the Akron Senior Citizens Commission. “We focused on asking the community about the eight domains on livability: Outdoor Spaces and Buildings, Transportation, Housing, Social Participation, Respect and Social Inclusion, Civic Participation and Employment, Communication and Information, and Community and Health Services.”


“The University of Akron is proud to be a resource for individuals of all ages,” said UA Interim President John Green. “Not only do we provide instruction in many disciplines that provide services for and advocate for the needs of seniors in the region, but we also enjoy educating seniors every day in our classrooms.”


“Direction Home Aging and Disabilities is proud to be a partner in the Age-Friendly Akron initiative,” Gary Cook, President and CEO of Direction Home Akron Canton said. “Within our role as Akron’s Area Agency on Aging we can offer support and direction that will help align Akron’s planning with AARP’s best practices to ensure all older adults in the city can live where they want to call home.”


A core advisory group is meeting to develop a plan for implementing the Age-Friendly Akron initiative citywide and to design a needs assessment model, which will formalize the research performed in the completed series of listening sessions and gather additional data regarding the needs of Akron’s older adults.


Affiliated with the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities®, the AARP network helps cities and towns to prepare for two significant ongoing trends: rapid population aging and increasing urbanization. As of the 2010 Census, Akron had more than 40,000 people age 60 and older.  By 2030, data indicates that close to 31 percent of Akron residents will be over the age of 65.

Nationwide, four states and more than 368 communities representing more than 100 million residents have received the Age-Friendly designation from AARP. Learn more at and

For further information, contact:
Ellen Lander Nischt
Press Secretary
Phone: 330-375-2325
E-mail: [email protected]

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