Thank you for your interest in Age Friendly Northfield!
STEERING COMMITTEE: The Age Friendly Northfield Steering Committee is a temporary exploratory group formed in January of 2016 by the Northfield ACT on Alzheimer’s program to investigate ways to enhance livability for people as they age. Four members of the ACT Committee formed a Steering Committee and met to review existing models for creating livable communities including those focused on aging.
Multiple models were researched and reviewed, and the Steering Committee in discussion with city officials decided to apply to the Age Friendly Network of the Age Friendly Initiative of AARP and the World Health Organization. Being an age-friendly community requires a commitment to a cycle of continuous improvements. The “Getting Started” phase of the program typically lasts one or two years.
The Steering Committee has been and continues to be involved in initiating the effort as described below:
Steps to becoming Age Friendly Northfield
INITIATING THE EFFORT:
1. Obtain the political commitment of the community’s elected officials:
This includes acquiring a written pledge by the Mayor to commit to a continual cycle of improvement. This letter, along with a membership application, should be sent to the community’s AARP state office or the AARP representative the community has been working with. AARP will then advise the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities.
The Mayor and City of Northfield became involved in Spring 2016 when the Age Friendly Initiative of AARP and The World Health Organization was chosen for Northfield. The City applied to AARP MN to become a member of the Age Friendly network by submitting a supportive City Council resolution and a letter of application.
Northfield was accepted into the network in the Fall of 2016 when Will Phillips, the AARP MN Director, presented the Certificate of Acceptance to Ben Martig, the Northfield City Administrator.
A successful age-friendly initiative is based on broad collaboration. An ideal group of stakeholders would include representation from non-profit organizations, businesses, government agencies and community partners and, of course age-50+ residents.
The Steering Committee continues to identify and organize stakeholders — both individuals and organizations. A number of people, some representing organizations have committed to join the Steering Committee efforts.
3. Conduct assessments to identify needs
AARP has developed a survey that can be adapted by communities to help assess available resources and what residents view as important for successfully aging in place. The survey is designed to capture information consistent with the eight domains of a livable community as identified by the World Health Organization.
4. Establish an advisory committee that includes older adults
The Steering Committee and Advisory Committee has begun to organize community stakeholders into a long term advisory group. This group will oversee the Age Friendly Northfield initiative. The exact nature and scope of the group is yet to be determined.
The ultimate goal of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities is to increase the number of communities that support healthy aging, which will thereby improve the health, well-being, satisfaction and quality of life for older Americans. In an age-friendly community, policies, services, settings and structures support and enable people to remain active as they age. This is achieved by:
- Recognizing the wide range of capacities and resources among older people
- Anticipating and responding flexibly to aging-related needs and preferences
- Respecting the decisions and lifestyle choices of age 50+ people
- Protecting and supporting older adults who are the most vulnerable
- Promoting the inclusion and contributions of older adults in all aspects of community life
And, because active aging is a life-long process, an age-friendly community is not just “elder-friendly.” Rather, an age-friendly community is friendly for people of all ages.
Thank you! We hope you will consider participating in this important initiative for Northfield.
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Learn more about AARP/WHO Age Friendly Communities: