Working our way
through the
age-friendly domains:
Civic participation
and employment,
Part I

As we continue through domains of age-friendly and healthy aging communities, let’s discuss “Civic participation and employment,” but we’ll divide it into two parts. We’ll start with the harder one -- what exactly is civic participation/engagement?
If you can remember your middle school civics class (although civics hasn’t been taught for years in most public schools), you could say civic participation includes individuals or groups working in both political and non-political ways to either make or prevent a change in a community -- with the goal to address public concerns and promote the quality of the community.
So how does this relate to age-friendly efforts?
Community participation by and for the benefit of older residents can help a town, county or state make a place better and more appropriate for residents as they live longer.

You can get involved to support housing, transportation and services for your older neighbors and, as we have discussed in previous issues, work in any of the domains to benefit the entire community -- not only people over 60.
Consider joining a municipal committee, speaking at town hall meetings, volunteering in your community or writing letters to local politicians to present your views and concerns.
Be part of the change you want to see happen and keep this in mind: How will your efforts in civic engagement now affect you in the years ahead?
In addition, older and long-term residents bring unique perspectives to their communities. They can speak on successes and failures of the past, highlight potential changes as they discover changing needs and provide a long-term context to balance short-term fixes. They have years of experience in professional fields that can be a great resource to towns stretched for resources. And, as the people who built their community over decades, they have a vested interest in seeing it thrive.
If you are an older resident, see if there are seats or positions open on your municipality’s committees and boards that match your skills and interests. 
You can find ways to get involved at any age and help make your community truly friendly to residents of all ages.

Have you missed our previous coverage on age-friendly domains? Read past issues of NJAAW News and Resources on our website, here!