An "age-friendly city" optimizes opportunities for health, participation and security for all people, to ensure quality of life and dignity as people age.
Cities in the Global Network Age-Friendly Cities and Communities pledge to continuously assess and improve their age-friendliness by ensuring that their facilities, policies and services are accessible to, and inclusive of, older people. Throughout the process, the City will seek community feedback to better understand what Sunnyvale's older residents want and need.
Approximately 11 percent of the current total population in Sunnyvale is 65 years and older. Over the next 20 years, that number is estimated to grow to approximately 34 percent, per the 2015 American Community Survey.
On March 28, 2017, the City Council approved a study issue to explore the feasibility of obtaining age-friendly city designation from the World Health Organization's Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities (GNAFCC). The City took this action, in part, at the request of Santa Clara County to join a Countywide "Age-friendly Silicon Valley" initiative that urged all cities in the County to apply for designation by July 2017.
The City is assessing its age-friendliness according to eight areas of focus, or "domains." The World Health Organization identified eight domains of city life that might influence the health and quality of life of older adults:
Through community outreach, the City will identify our older residents' most pressing issues from among these eight domains. These issues will become the focus of the City's first age-friendly action plan.
Cities participating in GNAFCC commit to an ongoing cycle:
Planning Phase (Years 1 and 2)
Implementation and Evaluation phases (Years 3 to 5)
On completion of the planning phase, and no later than two years after joining the Network, cities will submit their action plan to WHO for review and endorsement. Upon endorsement by WHO, cities will then have a three-year period to implement their action plans.
Progress evaluation: At the end of the first period of implementation, cities must submit a report to WHO outlining progress, measured by the milestones identified in the planning phase.
Continuous Improvement Phase
If there is clear evidence of progress, cities will move into a phase of continual improvement. Cities will develop a new plan of action (duration of up to five years) and identify new milestones. Cities can continue their membership to the Network by entering further implementation cycles.