LANSING — Michigan is taking steps to address its rapidly growing aging population.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced today that Michigan has joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and the World Health Organization Global network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities.
“Active aging is a life-long process and making communities more age-friendly is a commonsense policy approach for responding to demographic aging,” Whitmer said in her application letter.
Michigan joins five other states in the network, including: Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts and New York.
Currently in Michigan, residents 50 and older make up 37 percent of the state’s population.
Both the U.S. population and Michigan’s population is aging faster than the national projection. By 2025, Michigan residents 65 and older will outnumber people younger than 18. That’s nearly 10 years ahead of the national projection
“It’s critical that Michigan takes steps now to make sure communities are ready to meet the needs of all ages as the population shifts,” said Paula D. Cunningham, State Director of AARP Michigan. “We’re talking about everything from walkable downtowns and opportunities for work and volunteering, to access to health care, housing and transportation options. We want to help make Michigan the best state it can be.”
Eight Michigan communities joined the Age-Friendly Network: Auburn Hills, East Lansing, Grand Rapids, Highland Park, Jackson, Lansing, Royal Oak and Southfield.
Whitmer’s announcement comes on the same day of the opening day of the AARP Michigan Age-Friendly State and Communities Conference in Lansing.