Age Friendly Communities was developed by the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (now based at Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging) and community partners.
Older adults, organizations, and the greater community are all connected and interdependent. Collaboration and partnership between all community members make our communities stronger. An age-friendly community creates personal, social, and system connectedness by:
- Building meaningful partnerships between older adults and service providers
- Recognizing that all older adults are partners in their own care
- Partnering with service providers to create a system to meet the changing needs of older adults
Keep the five guiding principles in mind as you have your community conversations. The guiding principles are important to consider when you are identifying your communities strengths and areas for improvement.
Build meaningful partnerships between older adults and service providers
What opportunities are available for older adults to help with the plan and implement programs and services?
- Offer volunteer opportunities
- Involve older adults in groups and on committees
- Present proposals, share experiences and bring forth issues to older adults
- Invited older adults to participate in council meetings
How do you recruit older adults as partners?
- Recruit older adults through other local organizations or group
- Use multiple ways to enlist older adults (radio, newspaper, local television, flyers, social media etc. … )
- Recognize the strengths and capabilities of older adults
- Actively recruit older adults for volunteer employment opportunities
How do you ensure that the perspectives of older adults are included in decision-making?
- Examine processes and policies to ensure that older adults are involved in making decisions
- Consult with older adults at all stages when planning and developing a program or service
- Engage older adults in planning and leading programs and services
How do you support active participation of older adults within the partnership?
- Be creative in developing ways to involve people
- Ask partners for different ways to communicate with older adults
- Use a variety of methods to foster involvement, such as teleconferences, face-to-face meetings or going out to groups for consultations
- Use technology to enhance communication, but recognize not all people use technology in the same ways
Create a strong partnership within and beyond your community
How do you connect and share resources with others to address the unmet needs of older adults?
- Organize and support networking and building partnerships with older adults, services providers, and policymakers
- Attend town hall meetings
- Invite members from other organization to your strategic planning meetings
- Hold staff meetings and invite persons from other departments
- Create a budget based on your vision as opposed to standard funding strategies
- Foster open communication with relevant service providers (e.g. send newsletters, have joint meetings)
- Share stories – successes and challenges
- Connect with diverse populations for broader perspectives including people from different backgrounds (e.g. language, religion, ethnicity, culture, sexuality, rural/urban residence)
- Consider offering joint programming with other organization
- Advocate for changes needed in policy and funding
How do you connect with policy and decision makers to address the unmet needs of older adults?
- Invite councilors, the mayor, the chief, member of provincial parliament (MPP) or member of parliament (MP) to your next event, program or service
- Inform key decision makers about events or issues within your organization or community (e.g. send letters, invite them to sit on or chair a committee)
- Involve funders and decision makers in discussion/process regarding service gaps and provide opportunities for them to meet the needs
How do you connect and share resources with other geographic communities or regions?
- Collaborate with other communities to share ideas/enhance your initiatives, programs (i.e. attend an annual general meeting, community’s advisory or council meeting)
- Explore age-friendly initiatives in other communities
- Research areas on the internet and connect with others who have similar issues