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Aging is for everyone!  The Age-Friendly Bowling Green initiative seeks to make Bowling Green, KY a better place to grow old by promoting an “age-in-everything” lens across all aspects of city life. This hands-on community initiative asks the city’s public agencies, businesses, cultural, educational and religious institutions, community groups, and individuals to consider how changes to policy and practice can create a city more inclusive of older adults and more sensitive to their needs.

According to “The Case for Age Friendly Communities” prepared for Grantmakers in Aging,“An age-friendly community is one that is a great place to grow up and grow old.

It has:

  • safe and accessible public transportation options;
  • affordable, accessible, and safe housing;
  • pleasant and safe parks and outdoor spaces;
  • quality community and health services;
  • sufficient employment and volunteer opportunities; and
  • engaging social activities and events for people of all ages.

The needs and preferences of older adults are taken into account. Older adults are respected, and their knowledge, skills, resources, and contributions are sought out. They are integrated into the fabric of the community.”

One of the ways Bowling Green seeks to harness the valuable contributions of our older adults is in partnership with WKU Aging and AARP Kentucky through the presentation of its Over 50 Citizens Academy.  The four and a half day academy is targeted to adults over 50 and is a behind-the scenes look at City government and a thoughtful exploration of livable communities.  And don’t think that the academy is just for someone of “a certain age”!  Past participants include members of the “sandwich generation”, raising children while caring for aging parents, along with still-working business owners, both newly and long retired workers, all incomes, education levels, and of varying hobbies.  Artists, sports fans, musicians, readers, fitness buffs, gear heads, travelers, fishermen, and more have all made up the previous classes of the academy.

 

The next Academy takes place weekdays, March 7-13 from 9:00-4:00 p.m., with graduation at lunch on Wednesday, March 13.  Register online for the academy here:  http://www.bgky.org/ncs/over-fifty-citizens-academy#schedule

Academy alumni participate in alumni reunion events and have also started planning additional Age Friendly Bowling Green activities, including a series of roundtable discussions coming this spring.  They also have been recruited to participate in various service opportunities with other City programs.  Contact Karen Foley at Karen.foley@bgky.org or call 270.393.3674 to learn more.