Age-Friendly Communities Across the Nation: Distinctive Approaches

Age-Friendly Communities Across the Nation: Distinctive Approaches

Posted on April 11, 2017 by Kathy Black

On March 23, 2017, Age-Friendly Sarasota presented at the ASA's Aging in America Conference alongside some of the nation’s largest and most distinguished age-friendly communities including Age-Friendly NYC, Age-Friendly Chicago, Age-Friendly DC, and Age-Friendly San Francisco. Each community is in different stages across the phases of the global Age-Friendly Communities (AFC) process including planning, evaluation, implementation, and reenlisting for the next five years. Each community was asked to present on a few distinctive approaches associated with their success.

Age-Friendly Sarasota shared the following approaches: Multisector Engagement (i.e. transportation options by nonprofits, business, etc.), Communication Assets and Strategies (such as social media and talking points), and Optimistically Optimizing Opportunities (such as proactively engaging with urban planners for the comprehensive plan).

Age-Friendly Chicago shared a village-like (supportive home services) model that was driven by volunteers and operating in many neighborhoods. The local senior center has turned outward to deliver resources at the community level for greater impact and responsiveness to needs.

Age-Friendly DC shared a strong governmental role with all departments taking on aspects of age-friendliness by domain. They added two more domains in response to their population’s needs: elder preparedness and elder fraud and abuse.

Age-Friendly NYC shared a host of resources developed by professional groups such as architects, businesses, and libraries. They emphasized the importance of no-cost and low-cost ideas and innovations along with pragmatic and infrastructure enhancements such as 1,000+ benches.

Age-Friendly San Francisco shared that despite a ‘new’ start – innovation includes leveraging the tech companies in the community as well as the development of a senior fund that was created from general revenue to better meet the needs of aging citizens.

More than 50 people attended the presentation and expressed gratitude to learn about the different approaches. The cities are so well known across the nation that everyone was familiar with the neighborhoods, history, and in many cases political leadership of the communities. We are all looking forward to doing it again next year!

For more information about these communities, please visit:

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