Use the navigation system below to access all of our resources related to Coalition Building, Assessing, Planning and Implementation strategies. These tools have been put together for you to use to build your community.
Throughout northern New England, cities and towns have developed infrastructure, programs, activities, and policy to make it easier for residents of all ages to be actively engaged in community life. We think of these as “lifelong” communities because they are great places to grow up and to grow old.
The movement is gaining momentum throughout northern New England. In some places, the municipality as a whole adopts a planning model that includes an aging lense when policy or infrastructure changes are made. In other communities, groups of residents are working together to address specific needs, such as housing, transportation, social participation, and accessibility.
To learn how communities are organizing these efforts, go to Getting Started and view our webinars featuring different lifelong community models. Just as each community is different, so is its lifelong community initiatve.
As more cities, towns, and villages implement programs, a wealth of knowledge and resources has developed to guide people through the process of getting started.
The lifelong community development approach views each community, its leaders, and citizens as experts about the type of change that will work best. However, there are a few steps that can increase the likelihood that a lifelong community initiative will successfully make changes that increase the quality of life of older residents.
It is important to have local champions who can build enthusiasm for making lifelong community changes and who can motivate residents, local government, and other stakeholders to work together to start an initiative.
The first step is for a community champion to build a steering committee with people from various backgrounds who share a commitment to making the community a better place to live.
A critical part of designing a successful age-friendly community initiative is to learn what it’s like for older people to age in your community and to learn what assets your community has available to help meet the needs of older folks and what challenges your community’s “built environment” may bring to older adults.
Access our in depth Community Assessment tools HERE
Go to the TSLCA Library Getting Started
to view assessment webinars
After you finish the assessment process, it is time to put the data you gathered to work to provide focus and structure for your age friendly work.
Alan Lakein wrote: “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now”. Planning starts with a vision of how your age friendly effort will affect older residents. Starting an age friendly initiative is a lot of work for all of the members of the Steering Committee. Your “identity statements”, your vision and/or mission statement, will tell the world what keeps all of you working to make changes in your community.
Next, you will link the vision and/or mission statements to broad goals. How will you know that your age friendly initiative is successful? Broad goals can include things like providing transportation alternatives, increasing access to social opportunities, or creating a chore service.
After creating goals, your team needs to create specific objectives that define how your age friendly effort will achieve its goals. Objectives provide measurable milestones, specific steps that will guide you to achieve your goal.
The strategic plan should reflect community capacity as well as the preferences and values of the community and, especially, older residents. A strategic plan will not be successfully implemented if the steering committee has a goal that is not wanted by older residents or has objectives that do not follow the way older adults prefer to see the goal implemented. Data gathered during the needs assessment is key to creating a strategic plan that will result in meaningful age friendly changes.
Here are some resources to help you develop a mission statement, determine goals, and create a strategic plan.
You have identified the strengths and challenges in your community for aging in place. You have learned about local resources and identified potential sources of support in the surrounding region and have created an action plan.
Now, it is time to start working on projects that were identified in the action plan.
These documents consolidate the experiences of cities and towns throughout northern New England. You will find policies and descriptions of programs developed by other communities in our region and sample forms that have proven useful to other age friendly programs.
Where appropriate, we have included contact information so you can learn from and share ideas with other communities in our area.