Getting Started!

Intergenerational Garden in Age-Friendly Saco

Start where you are.

Use what you have.

Do what you can.

Arthur Ashe

Finding Your Way...

Getting started with your lifelong community initiative takes two key ingredients:  people and community.  You'll need a small group of dedicated people who bring vision and commitment to making the place where you live more livable for all.  You'll also need a community that prides itself on being a great place to live, work, and play.  No matter where you start, the key to success is individual and community support for changes that make your town even better place to live. 

Launching an age-Friendly Community can feel a bit daunting but never fear! In this section of the website, you'll find many examples to adapt and implement, as you begin identifying community interests, assets, and potential partners.

Implementing sustainable change in your age-friendly initaitive means embedding age-inclusive considerations in the fabric of your community, in local organizations, municipal departments, and among residents. Although it  can seem daunting to achieve, David Noonan's article, The 25% revolution - How big does a minority have to be to reshape society? in Scientific American concludes that we only need to reach about 25% of the population in our communities to effect change.  After a few successful wins and some well-deserved publicity, you will be surprised at how quickly awareness grows and how excited your partners will be to join with you. After all, who can be against communities that are great places to grow up and to grow older?

Note: Below, and throughout our site, underlined text indicates a live link.

Organize for success.

Lifelong communities that engage the community, develop a strong core team, and identify a shared purpose through their mission, vision, and value statements are efficient and effective. 

Mapping a way forward.

The basis of a strong plan is an age-friendly assessment of what is going well and how residents want to make the community better. Celebrating and sharing action plan wins shows that you are a team of doers.

Engage with a quick win.

While it's often tempting to take on big projects at first, "quick wins" create needed momentum and excitement.

Tools for GeTTING STARTED...

Sometimes you need a brief handout to start a conversation. These one-page handouts can be used to educate your core team, recruit new members, engage partners, or help present the idea of joining the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities to your municipality. 

For a bit of Inspiration....

Berwick for a Lifetime had to put some of their work on hold during the worst of COVID. This year, the team is re-energizing age-friendly. The first step is to engage residents of all ages  to raise awareness of their programs and to recruit needed volunteers. This video shows a snippet of the Meet and Bleat event, attended by more than 200 residents.