Age-Friendly Sarasota is a community for all ages
Earlier this year, Sarasota County joined AARP and the World Health Organization’s global network of age-friendly communities -- Florida’s first! Age-friendly communities seek to enhance the experience of aging in community via eight domains:
Outdoor Spaces and Public Buildings - We all likely visit or encounter outdoor spaces (about 30-50% of our environment), public buildings, and places like parks or shopping venues. When these are safe and accessible, it encourages activities and involvement in community life.
Transportation - Many of us have considered the possibility of what will happen when we can no longer drive. The condition and design of transportation-related infrastructure such as signage, traffic lights and sidewalks affects our personal mobility. Access to reliable, affordable public transit and other travel options will become increasingly important when driving becomes too stressful or challenging.
Housing - Though aging in place may be desirable, our current homes may be unable to meet our needs as we age. The availability of accessible, affordable housing with a choice of styles and locations that incorporate universal design features will be essential for many of us to continue living independently. We may also want to consider alternative living options such as shared and communal housing that are emerging throughout the country, but not yet widely available in our community.
Social Participation - Interacting with family and friends is an important part of wellbeing and for many, the reason for living. Social participation involves both interacting with others as well as the extent to which our community makes such interaction possible. While many of us lead very active social lives, as a community, we want to be sure to enhance social participation via a wide variety of activities for people of all abilities and financial circumstances.
Respect and Social Inclusion - We know that community attitudes that demonstrate respect of persons and recognize the important role that adults play at all ages in society are critical factors for an age-friendly community. Age-friendly communities foster positive images of aging and intergenerational understanding to challenge negative attitudes.
Civic Participation and Employment - Civic engagement includes our involvement in aspects of community life that extend beyond our day-to-day activities, such as volunteering, becoming politically active, and voting. Employment is also a very important for many, particularly those with fixed incomes or whose savings are not meeting their current needs. Civic engagement efforts, intergenerational opportunities for meaningful volunteering and paid work benefit people of all ages.
Communications and Information - Age-friendly communities make sure that information about community events or important services is both readily accessible and in formats that are appropriate for persons of all ages. Age-friendly communities recognize the diversity of needs regarding information and provide multiple sources to connect people with the information they need to best live their lives and meet their needs.
Community Support and Health Services - Good mental and physical health contributes to quality of life and age-friendliness. Access to services that support well-being and the availability of services that promote health will foster wellbeing throughout the lifespan.
Age-Friendly Sarasota is poised to enhance our collective efforts to enable all of us to thrive as we age. Sarasota County residents can join our age-friendly journey by visiting our website and sharing their thoughts via our survey.