ARC Recognized for Healthy Aging Initiative in Mableton

ARC Press Release

For More Information Contact:

Grace Trimble

(404)-463-3192

Cell: (404) 323-5647

gtrimble@atlantaregional.com

(ATLANTA – February 14, 2012)  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging initiative recently announced that the Atlanta Regional Commission has been selected to receive the 2011 Commitment Award for its Lifelong Mableton project. Lifelong Mableton, one of only two initiatives recognized this year, was chosen for combining smart growth principles with the concepts of active aging in the South Cobb community of Mableton.

Award winners are public sector entities, neighborhood or non-governmental organizations that demonstrate excellence in implementing programs and policies that improve the health and well-being of the community and its citizens and provide opportunities that allow older adults to age in place. Lifelong Mableton was evaluated on its overall effectiveness of the program, level of community involvement and outreach, use of innovative approaches and overall environmental and health benefits of the project.

Lifelong Mableton began in earnest in the fall of 2009, with funding from the U.S. Administration on Aging‘s Community Innovations for Aging in Place program. It was one of 14 grants awarded throughout the country. With the assistance of the grant, ARC has worked closely with residents of Mableton to implement the principles of creating a place where individuals can live throughout a lifetime. The main goals of this project include promoting housing and transportation options, encouraging healthy lifestyles and improving access to services.

Since 2009, Lifelong Mableton has helped Mableton adopt smart growth policies and programs, including the adoption of a more flexible zoning code that makes the development of mixed-use communities easier and allows for expanded housing options. Lifelong Mableton has also fostered a partnership with Cobb and Douglas Public Health to improve the safety and walkability of the community as well as improving access to local public transit. The Historic Mableton Community Garden is beginning its third growing season and is located near a planned mixed-use development in the heart of the community.

Local AARP volunteers donated more than 400 pounds of fresh produce to the local food bank through the garden’s “Plant a Row for the Hungry” program. Older adults and children come together on a regular basis to learn from each other, enjoy the socialization opportunities and participate in beneficial physical activities as part of this program.

A pilot program, “Grandparents for Safe Routes to Schools,” encourages older adults to walk elementary children to school for exercise and social opportunities and allows for the older adults to help create a community presence.  Also contributing to the this sense of place, a newly created fitness initiative launched last fall has participants of all ages walking and running together on a weekly basis through the core of the study area.

The Farmers Market is preparing for its third summer of bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to area residents. The market is particularly attractive to older adults because of the transportation it provides  from senior housing facilities, vouchers for free produce and health screenings. The market is held Thursday mornings, making it an ideal time for older adults to shop for fresh produce after the morning rush hour has ended.

During the next few months, health and wellness opportunities will continue to grow. Lifelong Mableton also plans to help launch a volunteer driver program that will help older adults get to needed medical appointments.

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