Age-Friendly Columbus and Franklin County, a program of The Ohio State University College of Social Work, entered the AARP and World Health Organization international network of Age-Friendly Communities in 2016. This network defines a five-year process for communities across the globe to assess, plan, and implement needed improvements through the lens of older adults. Each community is given access to resources and guidance for how to complete the work, but is also given the flexibility to cater the process locally. December of 2020 marks the first round of improvements in Columbus and Franklin County-defined by five years of robust discovery and innovation with older adult residents and those who serve them.
In Central Ohio, we worked closely with older adults to understand their challenges, list our community assets, and design ideas for improvement through community-based participatory research and planning. We then worked together to identify and implement solutions, with the goal of continually showcasing the important impact older adults have in our community. We collaborated with agencies, nonprofits, and many others to fund, launch, and evaluate the impact of these projects. Through transportation, housing, emergency preparedness, employment projects and more - our efforts have made Columbus and Franklin County an even better place to live for people of all ages.
Over the course of the last five years, we have accomplished so much, but a few points of pride stand out.
Highlights from 2016-2020
- Engaged with 1,594 older adults through surveys, focus groups, and walk audits
- Distributed 2,000 emergency preparedness kits and 10,000 files of life
- Presented on age-friendly and community-based research/planning approaches to 11,829 attendees
- Piloted 9 number of transportation projects, increased capacity for 3 housing projects, launched public awareness campaigns, and supported the growth of Villages
- Supported 80 students representing 14 disciplines across multiple Universities, authored 10 manuscripts that are published, in press, or under review, and presented 10 peer-reviewed conferences
- Added or advocated for the aging lens on 24 local, regional, and statewide committees
- Advocated successfully for the investment of funding into new or expanded aging programs
Thank you to the community members of all ages and abilities as well as the representatives from the following organizations. We have so much to be proud of and it would not have been possible without you.
AARP Livable Communities/Age-Friendly Communities
American Association of Service Coordinators
Catholic Social Services, Senior Companions Program
Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging
Greater Columbus Network of Villages
Center for Urban and Regional Analysis
Central Ohio Transit Authority and Mobility Services
City of Columbus
City of Columbus Departments of Public Service, Parks and Recreation, and Development
City of Columbus, Office of the Mayor
Coalition of Age-Friendly Communities of Ohio
Columbus City Council
Columbus Federation of Settlement Houses
Employment for Seniors
Franklin County Board of Commissioners
Franklin County Office on Aging
Franklin County Townships, Villages, and Cities
Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity
Metro Middle School
Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission
National Church Residences
Ohio Department of Aging
Ohio Department of Transportation
Red Cross, Greater Columbus Chapter
Senior Services Roundtable
The Columbus Foundation
The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation
Katie White is Director of Age-Friendly Communities at The Ohio State University College of Social Work and works to create opportunities to engage older adults and individuals with varying abilities in making community improvements.