Over a period of years, a group of older adults met around a kitchen table because they were not happy with the housing and support options they faced as they aged in Berkeley. This conversation grew and the group obtained funding from the City of Berkeley, Kaiser Permanente, and Alta Bates/Summit Medical Center for planning to make Berkeley a more “Age Friendly” place. Ashby Village has sponsored and served as fiscal agent for the project.
Planning for the Berkeley Age Friendly Continuum (Continuum) was led by a Leadership Team of individuals and organization representatives who had been involved in the conversation for several years. Additional Partners joined later. Activities included a comprehensive needs assessment, setting priorities and methods to address priorities, articulation of an organizational structure, and 3- and 10-year plans for a sustainable organization to support those efforts.
This interest in strengthening Berkeley as a place to age coincides with several other large movements addressing the needs of the rapidly growing older adult population worldwide. Our planning has been heavily informed by the peer-led Village movement, seen in over 300 communities in the US; and the Age Friendly Cities and Communities effort, led in over 20 countries by the World Health Organization (WHO), and facilitated by AARP in over 150 communities in North America.