Washington joins Age- and Dementia-Friendly Networks

Designations underscore a commitment to helping Washingtonians age with dignity and purpose

OLYMPIA — This Older Americans Month, we are happy to announce that Washington is now a part of AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities and USAging’s Dementia-Friendly America networks, collaborations that will help people in our state thrive in their communities. These designations are the result of ongoing collaboration between Washington State’s Department of Health, Department of Social and Health Services and the Health Care Authority.

By aligning with the global age- and dementia-friendly initiatives, Washington state gains access to expert resources and technical support to help identify and promote policies and initiatives that improve longevity, health, and engagement through healthy food, transportation, health care, culturally appropriate services, recreation, and social activities.

This statewide commitment will build on the efforts of cities like Puyallup, Seattle, Tacoma, Renton and White Salmon, which have embraced age-friendly projects and initiatives like promoting safe and walkable streets and providing an array of housing options and ways for residents to become and stay involved in the community.

For example, the Puyallup Public Library created an Aging Resources Center which includes fiction and non-fiction books, information on community events, and weekly visits from Celebrate Seniority volunteers to help visitors find information. At the same time, communities like Eastsound (Orcas), Spokane Area and Seattle have adopted dementia-friendly practices. For example, Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Lifelong Recreation program includes dementia-friendly recreation opportunities for people living with memory loss including Art in the Park, Memory Loss Zoo Walks and more.

“These programs advance Washington’s commitment to inclusivity for all,” says Governor Jay Inslee. “This collaboration will ensure more communities around the state have opportunities to provide improved quality of life for each resident. Our state recognizes the dignity of every Washingtonian, across all ages and abilities.”

“We congratulate Washington as it becomes the twelfth state in the nation to enroll in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly State and Communities,” said Marguerite Ro, AARP Washington State Director. “Washington has received national recognition for our innovative efforts to help Washingtonians age with confidence. We look forward to supporting DOH, DSHS and HCA as they work to create a community that is more livable and inclusive for people of all generations.”

Joining the age- and dementia-friendly networks will build on Washington state’s commitment to support residents as they age in the setting of their choice, including their own homes. This helps people stay connected to and active in their communities for as long as possible. DOH, DSHS and HCA are committed to promoting policies, programs and initiatives that make our state a more welcoming place for people of all ages.