In the fall of 2016, Age-Friendly Sarasota — the first community in Florida to join the World Health Organization’s Global Network and AARP’s National Network of Age-Friendly Communities — hosted age-friendly communities throughout the state in a Sharing Symposium supported by The Patterson Foundation.
Partnering with AARP Florida, connecting, learning, and sharing took center stage at the two-day event. Sessions included “Weaving age-friendly into the fabric of your community,” “Sharing promising practices,” and “Together co-creating an Age-Friendly Florida.” Synergy flowed as each community shared their own goals, accomplishments, and challenges.
Most importantly, an Age-Friendly Florida Network emerged under the coordination and support of AARP Florida — setting a model for the rest of the country. Collectively our communities are now becoming part of the solution, pioneering new ways to address the challenges ahead. Age-Friendly Florida is building upon our communities’ assets and aspirations to optimize active, healthy, and engaged living for all ages. As communities and individuals, in the self-declared epicenter of an aging world, we can have lasting positive influence and impact on the longevity revolution as we take responsibility and action for shaping our common future.
The evolution of the Sharing Symposium illustrates the power of connecting, learning, and sharing. Organizational leaders are joining the effort, working together for a common purpose, and helping it evolve and strengthen along the way. Visions, missions, and goals from multiple arenas are becoming aligned and interconnected. The age-friendly / livable community movement is moving beyond its initial organizational and geographic settings and it shows great promise in making our communities more livable #ForAllAges.
With Florida’s new age-friendly statewide designation, the potential of the Florida network to share innovations from additional age-friendly communities has reached a new standard. With leadership at the governmental level through Age-Friendly Sarasota’s longtime partner, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, the multitude of partner organizations and entities working within our state’s 27 age-friendly communities will have an even greater ability to connect with one another, opening up new opportunities to learn, share and collaborate toward greater livability for people of all ages.
As of May 2019, there are 27 Florida communities designated by AARP as age-friendly with more to come.