What We Heard
An inclusive society treats all residents – regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, age, language proficiency, income – or other status – with respect, and encourages full participation in the life of the community.
“Age friendliness” is a natural outgrowth of that shift toward greater respect and inclusiveness for all. While respect for seniors is mostly healthy in many communities, negative preconceptions of aging still exist. There is a need to facilitate a range of intergenerational and multi-cultural activities, to foster understanding and to enhance the sense of belonging. Education about aging should also begin early, to raise awareness on aging and associated issues, so that people learn to appreciate and acknowledge that we are all aging all the time.
Social engagement can contribute to self-esteem and prevent isolation and loneliness. Age-friendly initiatives aim to increase inclusion in community and regional activities. Older people should always be consulted on decisions concerning them.
Everyone wants and needs to feel valued. Direct outreach to rural or disengaged residents may increase inclusion in community life.
Goals at a Glance
- Create an inclusive community where all people can participate fully in social, civic, and economic life.
- Develop social programs to increase respect and inclusion between persons of different backgrounds, generations or abilities.
- Encourage and facilitate an inter-generational mentoring programs in Berkshire County.
- Ensure that programs developed for older adults are intergenerational when appropriate and that segregation by age is not practiced inadvertently.
- Explore innovative transportation models to allow older adults to continue to engage socially on weekends and evenings, in all weather.