— Become Age-Friendly Toolkit —

3. Tools to Get Started

Identify the concerns and needs of older residents in your community through assessments, focus groups, listening sessions or surveys.

  • Ask Participants: —
    • What it means to grow older in your city/town
    • What makes that easy or hard?
    • What are they most worried about?
  • Don’t forget to consider all nine domains of age-friendliness: —
    • Communication and Information
    • Transportation
    • Healthcare
    • Housing
    • Civic Engagement
    • Supports to Remain at Home
    • Economic Security
    • Outdoor Spaces & Public Buildings
    • Food & Nutrition
  • Identify existing programs, organizations and services that already serve older people: —
    • Senior centers and housing
    • Recreation centers
    • Social clubs
    • Community action programs
    • Libraries
    • And more
  • Identify the gaps between needs and existing services.
  • Establish goals to address these gaps. Prioritize!
  • Develop a plan of action to implement goals and identify funding sources, if needed.

More Information and Tools

  • For more information, tools, and support with engaging the community and assessing older adult needs consult AARP’s excellent “Roadmap to Livability” Collection.

    Books 1 and 2 will guide you through recruiting a team and engaging them as well as all stakeholders needed to jumpstart an age-friendly initiative. These two books will also provide a framework for a needs assessment from surveys to listening sessions to embedding results in your action plan.

  • Mass Healthy Aging provides a comprehensive 101 to jumpstart your work and provide guidance from forming a committee to assessing needs and writing and implementing plans.

  • Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission is an excellent source of sample surveys and assessments from which to model your own, incorporating the unique needs of the older adults in your community.