Des Moines University’s annual Senior Health Fair, which will occur this year on Saturday, Nov. 7, was named one of 16 “age-friendly good practices” from around the globe by AARP International in its 2015 Age-Friendly: Inspiring Communities Report.
A bit of background: Improved medical knowledge and an enhanced quality of life have allowed people to live to ages once thought impossible. In fact, by 2050, more than 20 percent of the world’s population will be age 60 or older.
To help communities address the needs of older residents and prepare for future generations, in 2006 the World Health Organization (WHO) brought together 33 cities in 22 countries to determine key elements that support active and healthy aging. These cities formed the Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities. AARP International embraced the concept by establishing an age-friendly communities network as an affiliate of the WHO network.
The city of Des Moines embraced the concept, too. In July 2011, the Des Moines City Council approved Iowa’s capitol in becoming a WHO Age-Friendly City, the first city in the Midwest and the third in the United States to do so. Since then, Des Moines University, AARP of Iowa and Aging Resources of Central Iowa, along with city leaders, have been working to identify and pursue goals in the eight domains outlined by the WHO:
- outdoor spaces and buildings
- social participation
- respect and social inclusion
- civic participation and employment
- communication and information
- community support and health services
DMU’s “50 and Better” Senior Health Fair, noted in the AARP International report in the domain of community and health services, is one way the University helps make its community more age-friendly and its residents more healthy.