2. Joining an age-friendly community network

Communities may consider several pathways or models to become more age-friendly. One option is to join an age-friendly network, which generally begins by obtaining the support of municipal leadership, conducting a needs assessment (which brings in the voice of older adults and other community stakeholders), and building on existing assessments and data, and developing an action plan.

With support from MHAC, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and Dementia Friendly Massachusetts developed this step-by-step guide with helpful information on how to become Age- and Dementia Friendly with formal community commitments.

The Baker Administration created a municipal best practice initiative called the Community Compact Program. Through MHAC’s advocacy and the Governor’s Council to Address Aging recommendations, this program now includes “Age- and Dementia Friendly” as a best practice. This presents another way to receive recognition while also carrying the potential for funding support to help advance the effort.

In 2018, the Massachusetts Municipal Association labeled Age- and Dementia Friendly work as a best practice for municipal leaders across the Commonwealth and created a special publication for municipal staff to better understand the movement (see Municipal Advocate Volume 30. No. 1 – Age-Friendly Communities: Strategies for Success)

We know that all communities are different and may complete steps in different orders. We urge any interested communities and stakeholders contact MHAC for assistance.