City of Detroit, MI

05/22/2024 | Press release | Archived content

A place where seniors thrive! City of Detroit enrolls in AARP Age-Friendly Community Network

  • May is Older Americans' Month and in Detroit, we are celebrating our elders.
  • Detroit joins the nation's local leaders who are committed to improving their communities for people of all ages.
  • Executive Governance Board for Seniors will spearhead next steps to make Detroit an even better place to age.

The City of Detroit is proud to announce it has joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. This enrollment acknowledges the city's work to create livable neighborhoods where our older residents know their well-being is top of mind to the administration.

"It's the seniors, many who stuck and stayed through the city's hard times, who are the backbone of our community. They are our block club leaders, our elders, and we owe them a debt of gratitude," said Mayor Mike Duggan. "I am proud of the work our city has done for our seniors and thank the AARP for this collaboration."

Mayor Duggan's administration works in partnership with Detroit City Council to enhance and promote the city's robust programs and resources available for seniors.

  • Detroit's Housing & Revitalization Department has worked to preserve 10,000 units of affordable housing for anywhere between 15-40 years, much of which is dedicated senior housing
  • The City of Detroit and City Council allocated $45 million of the city's American Rescue Plan Act dollars to Renew Detroit, a senior roof repair program
  • A Senior Emergency Home Repair program provides up to $15,000 for various repairs
  • Detroit's Department of Public Works prioritizes sidewalk repair around senior's homes
  • Our Digital Equity & Inclusion Department provides digital literacy and fintech training to seniors
  • Our Recreation Department has dedicated senior programming such as chair yoga and ballroom dancing, and hosts one of the coolest events of the year, our Senior Olympics
  • We provide access to American Sign Language and other language services through our office of Civil Rights, Inclusion & Opportunity Department
  • Detroit Department of Transportation has recently overhauled our paratransit system, which now boasts of 95% on-time performance with caring operators
  • Our Department of Mobility and Innovation is working with external partners to pilot a door-to-door shuttle service for our seniors to get them to and from appointments and shopping
  • The Detroit Health Department recently piloted a Re-Engage in Self-Care and Enjoy Today (RESET) program to help adults over 50 improve their post-pandemic well-being, becoming more active and engaged

What's next for Age-Friendly Detroit

As a member of the AARP Age-Friendly Network, the City of Detroit is now doubling down on our commitment to improving the quality of life for our seniors. Though Detroit currently has many programs and initiatives in place to serve our seniors, there was previously no one place to turn to learn about these resources. This is why the City's Civil Rights, Inclusion & Opportunity (CRIO) Department will spearhead a collaborative effort to centralize ongoing senior-friendly efforts and move this work forward, under the direction of Anthony Zander, Director. "We are excited about our membership in the Age-Friendly network; and today we announce the appointment of an Executive Governance Board for Seniors, which will work to synthesize all our resources to a central location," said Zander. "It's an honor to serve those seniors who live here and are committed to the City of Detroit; and we'll make sure their voices are heard every step of the way."

Our nation's population is aging rapidly

The AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities is an organizational affiliate of the World Health Organization Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities. "Detroit's neighborhoods are rich with generations of families who love their city, but that population is aging quickly, just like the rest of the state," said Paula D. Cunningham, AARP Michigan State Director. "We know 89% of Michiganders want to stay in their own home and community as they age and their economic contributions to our communities is significant. Elected leaders need to be forward thinking in tackling the issues that can make it difficult for older adults to age in place. We applaud Mayor Duggan and city officials for joining the AARP Age-Friendly Network and for continuing to commit policies and programs to make the city more livable not just for older adults, but for everyone."

The AARP Age-Friendly Network encourages states, counties and cities to prepare for the rapid aging of our nation's population and encourages elected officials and local leaders to strengthen the features and services that help make our communities and services accessible for senior residents. Detroit City Council members Scott Benson (D3) and Mary Waters (member at-large) promise their support and engagement with the success of senior programming throughout the city and will serve as members of the Executive Governance Board. "It's an honor for Detroit to be recognized as an 'Age-Friendly Community' for our senior citizens by AARP," said City Councilmember Scott Benson, who also chairs Detroit's Senior Task Force. "The programming and services we have developed for our seniors resonate across the city, building strong community and providing timely, accessible assistance and information to our elders. I am very proud of the work we have done and will continue to do with our seniors."

The new Executive Governance Board for Seniors will be chaired by Melia Howard, Director of Community Affairs, Mayor's Office and the Mayor's Chief of Staff, Stephanie Washington will serve as Executive Sponsor.

As a member of the Age-Friendly Network, Detroit expects to see better outcomes across the board such as: reduced social isolation, ability to age in place, access to resources on our City webpages and social media; better health outcomes and breaking down barriers to equitable access to healthy food, affordable housing and quality health care.

About the Age-Friendly Process

The AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities provides a structured process that guides change and serves as a catalyst to educate, encourage, promote and recognize improvements that benefit residents of all ages and life stages. Enrollment in the network provides member communities with the resources to become more age-friendly by tapping into national and global research, planning models and best practices. Learn more at