During the initiative's Planning Phase (May 2015 – May 2017), Age-Friendly Sarasota consultants and partners reached out to the local community and beyond to encourage learning and sharing about the age-friendly movement. These connections were a part of those efforts:
— 380 presentations and meetings
— 26 e-newsletters
— 84 blog posts on the AFS website
— daily Facebook and Twitter posts
— numerous articles and interviews (from media coverage through newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and the internet)
These and other approaches to learning and sharing will continue through the initiative's Implementation Phase (June 2017 – May 2020). Most recently, the Age-Friendly Festival — a special community outreach event for the region involving more than 125 participating organizations — was held on Saturday, October 28, 2017. The festival focused on advancing age-friendly principles and promoting lifelong well-being while connecting people of all ages.
Since its 2015 launch, Age-Friendly Sarasota has taken the aspirations of Sarasota County residents to develop an Action Plan — a blueprint to guide Sarasota County’s continued age-friendly evolution. The initiative has brought renowned longevity experts to Sarasota County to share their knowledge and innovations, while learnings in aging from our community’s experience have been shared with leaders throughout the world to inform and strengthen age-friendly developments.
As an effort built upon aspirations, Age-Friendly Sarasota’s impact is reflected in community enhancements optimizing the places in which people of all ages live, work and play. Creating this age-friendly environment requires a holistic approach that considers how community elements interact to shape a person’s daily life and experience. Age-friendly cities and communities focus on the eight elements (domains of livability) shown to have the greatest influence in determining quality of life for people regardless of age or location.
The impact of these efforts can be seen in ways big and small. Advancements like embracing universal design concepts in county planning and bringing together people of all ages around a common interest through planned events are equally as important as reframing the conversation around aging in our own homes.
Ultimately, age-friendly communities have the potential to break down generational barriers and stigmas that are often applied to people based on their age. This intergenerational approach connects people throughout the community, providing avenues for them to contribute their experience and talents while improving personal well-being.