Since 2000, the Center on Aging and Community has been actively involved in the “elder-friendly communities” movement, now with a broader focus on communities that work for people across the lifespan. As a partner in the national AdvantAge Initiative, CAC provides leadership, education, research, and technical assistance throughout Indiana and the U.S. to communities preparing for the coming age wave.
An elder-friendly community addresses needs and aspirations of elders in four basic domains:
In the planning model we promote (called the AdvantAge Initiative), communities survey themselves in these four domains and then use the data to develop wide ranging participation activities to engage citizens and plan/implement community improvement action steps. These may be changes to the built environment (sidewalks, completed streets, etc.) or changes to the vital “software” of a community (voluntarism, supportive services, improved health care, etc.)
In Indiana, CAC has provided leadership for planning in nearly 30 communities, conducted the most comprehensive scientific survey of older Hoosiers ever undertaken and provided training for community leaders throughout the state on making cities and towns more livable for older adults.
Since 2011, CAC has been helping develop a framework for Indiana communities to receive designation as Community for a Lifetime. When endorsed by the General Assembly and accompanied with new funding sources from the public and private sectors, Indiana will take the national lead as a state promoting livability across the entire lifespan.
CAC publications on the notion of a community for a lifetime include Design Guidelines for a Lifespan Community, Communications Toolkit, How to Develop a Home Modification Coalition, Mental Health and Older Adults, Evidence-based Interventions to Improve Physical Activity for Older Adults, and Phil Stafford’s book, Elderburbia: Aging with a Sense of Place in America.
For more information, visit LifetimeCommunities.org, formerly AgingIndiana.org.
Other random, but useful, links are being stashed here.
We also have information on Home Modification and Visitabilty. Learn how to age in place and make your home part of a Community for a Lifetime.