Like a whole lot of communities across the US, Guilford County’s population is getting older, so it’s important for the county to be hospitable to the elderly.

With that goal in mind, Well-Spring Retirement Community is making a $25,000 donation to the Guilford County social services department to support an initiative meant to help the county qualify as an American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Age-Friendly/Livable Community.

The contribution will be used to “support the planning, development and implementation of a community action plan to explore becoming an AARP Age-Friendly/Livable Community.”

The money will aid the countywide effort to create community partnerships meant to move the county toward becoming an age-friendly community. This money will also be used to hire a consultant who will help guide the effort.

Other funds supporting the project have been allocated by the Board of Commissioners in the fiscal 2022-2023 Guilford County budget adopted by the commissioners last June.

Though the main focus of the initiative is to make the area more amenable to the elderly, backers of the project point out that area residents of all ages will benefit from the enhancements encouraged by the program.  Those goals include providing a wide choice of outdoor spaces for enjoyment, supporting accessible transportation and housing, and promoting choices for social, work and civic engagement.

According to the AARP, “livable” communities are those that are “safe and secure” and offer “choices in where to live and how to get around.”  Livable communities also equitably serve “residents of all ages, ability levels, incomes, races, ethnicities, and other backgrounds” – as well as ”enhance personal independence.”

According to statistics that Guilford County staff have provided to the county commissioners, by 2036, one in four Guilford County residents will be over the age of 60.  And, in the next 20 years, the population of residents under the age of 18 will grow by 6 percent while the older adult population – those age 60 years and over – will increase by 44 percent.

By 2036,  county staff notes, Guilford County’s older adult population will be over 151,600 and will “vastly outnumber” the county’s younger population.