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Check out GIA’s Age-Friendly Resources to find resources that can help communities of any size learn about and launch an age-friendly effort.

From Choosing an Approach, to Building Teams, to Engaging Across the Community, to Integrating Dementia and Caregiving, to Addressing Rural/Small Town Issues, you will find specific, practical information to help guide your grantmaking in this area.

You will also want to learn from these age-friendly models and examples:

The AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities is an affiliate of the World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Program, an international effort launched in 2006 to help cities prepare for rapid population aging and the parallel trend of urbanization. The program has participating communities in more than 20 nations, and its 10 affiliates represent more than 1,000 communities.

AARP works with local officials and partner organizations around the country to identify communities for membership in the Age-Friendly Network. AARP then facilitates the community’s enrollment and guides its representatives through the network’s implementation and assessment process. In joining the network, a community’s elected leadership makes the commitment to actively work toward making their town, city, or county a great place for people of all ages.

The Village movement is a membership-driven, grassroots, comprehensive approach to helping neighbors age safely and successfully in their own homes. Today, there are more than 200 open Villages and another 150 in development in 45 states and the District of Columbia.

The Village to Village Network, a national organization launched in 2010, provides expert guidance, resources, and support to help communities establish and maintain their villages. Each village is a nonprofit organization run by volunteers and paid staff who coordinate access to affordable services by prescreening service providers and acting as a clearinghouse for referrals to members. For an annual fee, members gain access to these providers who, in turn, offer a discount on their services. The village also provides volunteer services, including transportation, health and wellness programs, home repairs, and social, cultural, and educational activities.

Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs) are housing developments or neighborhoods not originally built for older adults that, over time, have become home to a concentration of older people. Often, older adults still live in the homes they raised their families in many years ago. In more than 80 NORCs around the country, public-private partnerships provide supportive services and programs.

  • With more than 600 members and a mailing list of 1,600, the St. Louis Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) offers programs, classes and workshops in a three-mile service neighborhood in the Creve Coeur area. In addition to educational and cultural offerings, the NORC provides health and wellness services, fitness classes, and bus outings. Members also receive case management, minor home repair and assistance, information and referral, computer training and assistance, and home modifications. The NORC is coordinated by the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. Watch a video to learn more about the St. Louis NORC.
  • The NORC Blueprint, now housed at the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA), provides information for community groups and organizations on how best to develop, plan, manage, implement, and sustain programs to improve the health of older adults and encourage healthy aging. It also features guidelines to help funders develop and evaluate applications that seek NORC program support. The website was funded by the United Hospital Fund under its Aging In Place initiative, which was active until mid-2017.

The AdvantAge Initiative, developed by the Visiting Nurse Service of New York’s Center for Home Care Policy and Research helps counties, cities, and towns prepare for the growing number of older adults who are “aging in place” while creating livable communities for people of all ages. The website provides toolkits, lessons learned, reports, fact sheets, and other resources. The AdvantAge Initiative survey provides a “data snapshot” of how well older adults are currently faring in their communities. Local groups then use these survey data to help build broader awareness about aging, inform service and other planning efforts, and spur needed community-wide action in the not-for-profit, public, and private sectors.

The Community Innovations for Aging in Place Initiative (CIAIP) was designed to assist communities in their efforts to enable older adults to sustain their independence and age in place in their homes and communities. The initiative funded 14 projects in various communities that identified barriers to aging in place, and then—in collaboration with other community organizations—found innovative strategies for linking older individuals to comprehensive and coordinated health and social services programs that meet their needs. The initiative’s Technical Assistance Resource Center is home to a series of reports and other documents detailing grantee accomplishments, the challenges they faced, and the lessons they learned through implementation of their initiatives.

A Compendium of Community Aging Initiatives, published in 2010, provides brief summaries of 121 community-aging initiatives. For example, older residents on the north side of Chicago have access to more than 175 programs and customized services offered or referred through CJE SeniorLife. Older adults in Dunedin, FL, have benefitted from the city initiative, Communities for A Lifetime Program, which assessed mobility issues faced by older residents. Improvements initiated by the program include changing the timing of traffic lights near a senior housing development to allow older adults to cross the street safely and providing shelters and seats at bus stops throughout the city to provide relief from the Florida sun.

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