Sarasota County has just received the AARP renewal certificate for the Age-Friendly Action Plan 2022-2025.

While this is a great honor and achievement, there are probably people who don't know in 2015, Sarasota was designated the first age-friendly community in Florida.

So, what does it mean to be an age-friendly community?

Age-Friendliness is the intersection of community members, government, business, nonprofits, and media working together to develop services, systems, and policies that enhance livability for people of all ages and abilities. While much of the focus is about older adults, we have learned that what is good for an older person is good for a young person. Age-friendly communities seek to create an environment that empowers all people to live purposeful, active lives that promote inclusion and respect.

The process and program cycle to achieve the Age-Friendly designation encompasses a five-year continuous improvement cycle. It starts with assessing community needs and aspirations, developing a plan of action, and implementing and measuring impact.

AARPSarasota completed the first 5-year cycle in 2020, and during that time also started the assessment process by gathering information through surveys and focus groups. This second 5-year cycle continues our community's age-friendly journey, highlighting goals, objectives, and strategies developed from community assessment and input. The AARP renewal reinforces our commitment to making Sarasota a community for all ages.

The movement, which started with the World Health Organization in 2010, has grown to include 15 affiliates worldwide, including the United States affiliate AARP. The WHO Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities currently includes 1,114 cities and communities in 44 countries, covering over 262 million people worldwide. There are now 619 age-friendly communities in the United States.

We have had many successes over the past five years, but there is more work to do. Sarasota County remains invested in efforts to improve quality of life for all residents.

With pride in all we have accomplished and sincere appreciation for your continued interest and contributions.

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