Age-Friendly Sarasota is actively engaging the community in building a movement for all ages throughout Sarasota County and beyond. Here are some of the major milestones to date along the community's age-friendly journey.

Women in crowd smiling and listening

Aging with Dignity and Independence Initiative Learnings

January 2011 – December 2014

Prior to supporting Age-Friendly Sarasota, The Patterson Foundation worked with Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence (SCOPE) in partnership with...
the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee to explore new ways for communities to respond to an aging population — taking the preferences and needs of older adults and caregivers into account to achieve a community that supports people aging independently. The Patterson Foundation strengthened this work by facilitating collaborative projects involving groups throughout Sarasota. Researchers produced a manuscript that was published in Ageing & Society, an international journal. Project partners also shared insights and data with local community agencies, which are taking steps to fulfill the aspirations of Sarasota’s older adults based on the initiative’s findings.

View the final Aging with Dignity and Independence research report.
small image of Sarasota County's "Age-Friendly Sarasota Day" Proclamation

Age-Friendly Sarasota Launch

May 2015

With the full support of Sarasota County Government, Age-Friendly Sarasota officially launched in May 2015. This was a strong indicator that Sarasota was ready to begin a shift in culture and to help pioneer our region in the longevity revolution. Age-Friendly Sarasota became the first community in Florida to be recognized as an age-friendly community by AARP's Network of Age-Friendly Communities, the U.S. affiliate of the World Health Organization's global initiative.
photo of "Old Enough to Know Better" playbill

Old Enough to Know Better — Florida Studio Theatre

August 2015

Presented by Florida Studio Theatre, “Old Enough to Know Better” was a docudrama that brought experiences in aging to life. The production’s vignettes, which illustrated relatable themes such...
as the importance of companionship and reflections on one’s lifetime, were inspired by the stories of nearly 100 people throughout the community. Post-show panel discussions offered a deeper dive into the performance’s topics and covered other poignant age-related issues.

Learn more about the play's development process.
photo of Beth Baker

Housing Innovations Event Featuring Beth Baker

October 2015

More than two dozen thought leaders in Sarasota County convened to hear author Beth Baker share innovations in age-friendly housing being applied throughout the nation. Baker, who...
is the author of With a Little Help from Our Friends: Creating Community as We Grow Older, spoke to leading members of the real estate, building, and construction industries as well as government and housing representatives. During the event, which was funded in part by The Patterson Foundation, Baker discussed concepts such as aging in place, co-housing, shared housing, affinity housing, and many other new ways of living together later in life.

Read AFS' blog posts that share information relating to housing.
photo of some participants at Livability Event

Livability Events Featuring Dr. Rodney Harrell

April 2016

Dr. Rodney Harrell, director of Livable Communities for the AARP Public Policy Institute and lead architect of AARP’s online Livability Index tool, shared livability insights impacting quality of life...
for all ages with several groups of community leaders. Dr. Harrell led workshops with urban planners from throughout Sarasota County on optimizing community features — particularly its built environment and infrastructure. Following the workshops, Dr. Harrell shared learnings from AARP’s national livability research with local leaders. Residents had an opportunity to speak with Dr. Harrell and learn more during a public forum rounding out the first day of his visit. Lastly, neighborhood leaders participated in an innovative workshop with Dr. Harrell in partnership with SCOPE to infuse livability innovations into the places residents live, work, and play.

Watch a compilation of insights and learnings from Dr. Harrell’s community forum (Total Time: 1 minute 35 seconds).
photo of some participants at Symposium

FL Network Sharing Symposium

September 2016

Leaders representing 15 communities across Florida met in Sarasota for this two-day event, hosted by AARP Florida and Age-Friendly Sarasota with support from The Patterson Foundation.
The Symposium, a first-of-its-kind, gathered representatives from new and emerging age-friendly cities and communities, and provided attendees with opportunities to connect and share their experiences while learning from others working toward community enhancements benefiting people of all ages.

Learn more about Florida’s age-friendly movement from community representatives while they attended the Symposium (Total Time: 3 minutes 17 seconds).
photo of participants at Age-Friendly Day event

Age-Friendly Day at Sarasota County Government

April 2017

In honor of National County Government Month, representatives from ...
Sarasota County Government presented on the practices and programs that enhance the community’s quality and promote well-being at any age. Local residents learned about the services and resources that make Sarasota County a vibrant community for people of all ages during this day-long event.

Here’s a look at a few of the sessions and the insights shared with residents (Total Time: 1 minute 42 seconds).
photo of participants at Age-Friendly Day event

Age-Friendly Sarasota's Two-Year Celebration and Action Plan Unveiling

June 2017

On June 7, 2017, Age-Friendly Sarasota held a two-year celebration at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, with those involved in its successful momentum and those interested in the age-friendly movement learning about the next steps. AFS has completed two years of planning and research to assess the community's landscape and aspirations of residents to create a world-class livable community. The initiative is now launching a planned effort to engage people, businesses, nonprofits, government, and the media in the development of a more livable community through the AFS Action Plan. The Action Plan sets forth goals, objectives, and strategies for making Sarasota County more age-friendly. We are all stakeholders and no action is too small — everyone plays a part in co-creating our collective age-friendly future. Together, we embark on the Implementation Phase, beginning now through June 2020.

Access the Age-Friendly Sarasota Action Plan for details and to provide feedback.

collection of festival logo artwork

Age-Friendly Festival

October 2017

Inspired by the Age-Friendly Sarasota initiative and presented as a gift by The Patterson Foundation, the Age-Friendly Festival — held on Saturday, October 28, 2017 at the Sarasota Fairgrounds — became the FIRST community celebration in the nation to focus on LIFELONG WELL-BEING while CONNECTING PEOPLE OF ALL AGES. Attendees enjoyed exhibits, experiences, entertainment, and educational presentations highlighting age-friendly practices and principles that optimize community assets and enhance quality of life #ForAllAges.

Learn all about the Age-Friendly Festival and its impact on the age-friendly movement in our community. We also hope to inspire similar events in other communities by sharing the festival's details on our website.

Progress Report

Age-Friendly Sarasota County Action Plan Progress Report

October 2018

On October 9, 2018, the final version of the Age-Friendly Sarasota (AFS) County Progress Report was presented to and approved by the Sarasota County Commission.

The Age-Friendly Sarasota County Progress Report represents progress towards the goals, objectives, and strategies across the eight domains that were identified in the Age-Friendly Sarasota County Action Plan. This Report includes information from Age-Friendly Sarasota’s launch on May 6, 2015 through December 31, 2017.

From July 17 – August 17, 2018, the Draft Progress Report was available online for public input. Feedback collected was used to strengthen the Progress Report to include accomplishments fulfilling our shared aspirations.

Welcome to Age-Friendly Florida, #ForAllAges

Florida Embraces an Age-Friendly Future

April 2019

On April 23, 2019 Age-Friendly Sarasota’s home state, Florida, became the fourth (and largest) state to receive the age-friendly designation from AARP, after New York, Massachusetts, and Colorado.


With Florida’s new age-friendly statewide designation, the potential of the Florida network to share these and other 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 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.

Explore the possibilities of an age-friendly future.
Women in crowd smiling and listening

Five-Year Progress Report


This Progress Report is a milestone recognizing and celebrating the many efforts and accomplishments shaping Sarasota County as a community for all ages. Proud of its many accomplishments, we remind ourselves...
becoming Age-Friendly is a journey, not a destination. It’s a collective effort across multiple sectors. Each of us has something to contribute; no effort is too small.

View the Five Year Progress Report.

The AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities

Valid until 2025

The Age-Friendly Action Plan is a living document compiled from many resources, including existing data, multiple surveys, focus groups, and input from community partners. Over the next few years, we welcome your ideas and suggestions as we work together to develop activities to meet our collective goals.

Access the Age-Friendly Sarasota Action Plan.

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