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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 11, 2006

UI Aging Experts Part Of AARP Livable Community Initiative

University of Iowa experts in aging are working to make sure that Johnson County remains one of the most livable places to retire in the United States.

Elinor Ginzler, the national director of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Livable Communities Initiative, will visit Iowa City Sept. 19 to participate in a formal planning process with Johnson County Consortium on Successful Aging members, local government officials and community leaders from sectors such as education, health, housing, transportation and recreation.

Bill Novelli, the CEO of AARP, visited Iowa City last May and selected the Johnson County area as a model livable community for successful aging.

"Johnson County has continually been recognized as a place for successful aging based on availability of health care, education, transportation and entertainment opportunities, among other things, but we want to continue to improve on and add to all the services available to older adults," said Brian Kaskie, Ph.D., assistant professor of health management and policy in the UI College of Public Health and associate director of public policy for the UI Center on Aging. Kaskie also serves on the Johnson County Consortium on Successful Aging.

The UI Center on Aging and the consortium have worked for several years to address and evaluate essential elements that contribute to a livable community for older adults. Along with the many benefits Johnson County has to offer older adults, the consortium identified some areas that could be improved, Kaskie said. These include developing services like intergenerational daycare programs and volunteer ride programs; creating a geriatrics department and enhancing palliative care programs at local hospitals; and improving the housing market to include more affordable and accessible units for older adults.

"The consortium has done a lot of planning and research, and now we will bring the recommendations to the people in the community with the authority to make the changes that will even further improve Johnson County as a place for successful aging," Kaskie said.

Representatives from the AARP will return in a year to check on the progress of the initiatives, Kaskie noted.

The UI Center on Aging fosters and supports interdisciplinary research, education and service throughout the campus and state to improve understanding of the aging process and the health and well-being of older people.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: David Pedersen, 319-335-8032, Writer: Andrea Schreiber.

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