Montclair NJ Transforming to a Senior-Friendly Town
Katie York, Director of Senior Services/Lifelong Montclair and Deptartment of Health & Human Services, Montclair Township, explains why Montclair is a great place to grow older.
"Welcome to Life & Living. I'm Joanna Gagis. The qualities that make a town a great place to live may not make it a great place to age. Well, one New Jersey town believes that it's possible to achieve both. Joining me right now is Katie York, Director of Senior Services and Lifelong Montclair in the Department of Health & Human Services in the Township of Montclair. Welcome to the program. Thank you for having me. Absolutely. Tell us a little bit about Lifelong Montclair. What is it? It started as a grant-funded initiative, funded by the Partners For Health Foundation. And the Health Department collaborated on that as well. And it initially started focusing as an aging in place initiative. And for about a year after we started, we were focusing on that area. And then we learned about age friendly efforts through AARP and the World Health Organization, and it lined up a lot with what we were doing. So we joined at that point. Okay, so you said aging in place, and I want to explain for those who don't understand what that means. What is aging in place? Aging in place can mean a lot of things. Especially as we talk about place. Place could be in your home, it can be in your community, it can be in your state, so we were framing it as aging in communities. We were talking about being able to live in Montclair. You may need to change homes, maybe the single family five bedroom isn't appropriate anymore, but to try to make it easier for people to age in Montclair. Okay, so what do we know makes a community age-friendly? What makes a place a good place to age? And friendly for those who are, I guess, limited in mobility and other things, right? Yes. So seniors are a very diverse population. So they have very different needs. But a lot of the things that are appropriate for older adults are better for everybody. So housing with universal design, so that anybody can use it no matter their age or ability. Give me some examples. So, for instance, say you have those doorknobs. There are the knobs, and then there are the levers. The lever doorknobs are better for people who have limited mobility, maybe due to arthritis, but also if you have a wriggly toddler in your hand, or your hands are full of groceries. There are small design tweaks that can be made to make housing more livable for everybody, including seniors. This program started in early 2014? Mm hmm. Talk about where Montclair was when it started, and what growth you've seen over the last four years. Montclair was in a good place, Partners for Health had funded a..."