Age Friendly Columbus Looks Back At Its First 5 Years

Sponsored: As we wrap the first five years of work as Age-Friendly Columbus and Franklin County, we take a moment to reflect, celebrate, and thank those who made it all possible.

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

LifeCare Alliance

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

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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.

Tags: sponsoredcolumbusseniors

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