Age-Friendly Sarasota represents Florida at national AARP Network convening

Age-Friendly Sarasota represents Florida at national AARP Network convening

Posted on September 15, 2015 by Kathy Black

Age-Friendly Sarasota represents Florida's first World Health Organization-designated age-friendly community and earlier this month, we proudly represented the state at the 3rd annual AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities in Washington DC.

Currently, 60 American communities have joined the age-friendly network – up from 24 last year. The global network has increased from 258 to 288 communities representing 33 countries and more than 130 million people! At the event, there were representatives from 33 states and the age-friendly communities were in various stages of development including pre-planning, baseline, prioritization of efforts, and post-cycle (beginning another 5 year effort!).

Age-Friendly Sarasota was invited to present on how to engage communities and garner support. Colleagues from across the country were quite impressed as we were deluged with requests after we presented. Seeking to emulate best practices, many requested to hear and learn more about our efforts. There was particular interest from the following states: Massachusetts, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, Mississippi, Georgia, and Washington.

National AARP staff were equally impressed with our operation as well. It appears that our materials – already touted as exemplars to blossoming age-friendly communities within the state- may also be used as model material on a national scale. Additional opportunities to contribute to the national movement are anticipated.

Of course, the networking provided many opportunities to connect with and learn from other communities. Exciting activities among all of the domains were shared by other presenters and those in attendance - with much relevance for Age-Friendly Sarasota, too.  The event also showcased an array of helpful AARP materials to advance each community's efforts.  You can peruse some of the excellent AARP resources here.

Though we were well aware that Age-Friendly Sarasota was poised to make its mark, we are encouraged by the reception we received among more established age-friendly communities. We also continue to share on a national level -- as we are planning to present at the upcoming American Society on Aging Conference with such esteemed programs as Age-Friendly NYC, Age-Friendly Chicago, and Age-Friendly Portland (the nation’s first age-friendly community).

As we finalize our data collection efforts, we look forward to the opportunities to share our approach across the country and share our findings that already indicate substantial and important contributions to the national network.

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