The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) has honored Johnson County for becoming more age friendly as a Community for All Ages. Johnson County is the first county in the Kansas City region to receive the recognition.
The award was presented April 16 at the First Suburbs Coalition meeting and bestows a Bronze Level award to the county. Requirements included approval of a resolution by the Board of County Commissioners to become a Community for All Ages (CFAA) and a public forum on aging.
The quest to receive the CFAA bronze level was spearheaded by the county’s Department of Aging and Human Services.
“Here in Johnson County, we’re focused on creating livable communities to improve the quality of life for all our residents, including older adults,” said Debbie Collins, director of the department. “We also recognize the importance of preparing for the county’s growing older population with policies that enhance healthy aging; provide health care, nutrition and wellness services; and ensures an age-friendly quality of life.”
Johnson County’s current 65-plus population was estimated at 94,900 in 2020, according to the most recent U.S. Census information. The projection for the next decade is that aging population will increase to 148,344 by 2029 and to 230,455 by 2049.
Since the program started, 17 cities have received recognition at the Gold, Silver or Bronze level. Previous awards have gone to Gladstone, Grandview, Independence, Kearney, Lee’s Summit, Mission, North Kansas City, Raymore and Roeland Park (gold); Excelsior Springs and Liberty (silver); and Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Olathe, Parkville, Peculiar and Raytown (bronze).
The CFAA recognition program was developed in 2008 by the First Suburbs Coalition and KC Communities for All Ages — two groups convened by MARC to develop programs and tools to support first-tier suburbs, help communities respond to a rapid increase in the older adult population and make communities more welcoming for all age groups. The program is available to all jurisdictions in the nine-county MARC region.
The program’s three sequential levels of achievement reflect increasing degrees of commitment to becoming a CFAA.
Jurisdictions can maintain their recognition status by advancing to higher levels or, once the Gold Level is achieved, continuing to implement new elements of their plans. The program encourages cities and counties to respond positively to changing demographics and adopt policy and program approaches that make the region a great place to live, retire and age well.
From left to right, Commissioners Janeé Hanzlick, Jeff Meyers, Becky Fast, Shirley Allenbrand, Michael Ashcraft, Debbie Collins (director of Aging and Human Services) and (Chairman) Ed Eilert are shown with the Community for All Ages certificate. Not pictured: Commissioner Charlotte O'Hara.