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AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities Tool Kit

Key Indicators of Community Priorities

Ways to identify and monitor progress

All communities participating in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities are required to measure the progress being made against their plans by identifying and monitoring key indicators that reflect the priorities of the community.  

As with the initial assessment, it is important to determine which indicators should be used in order to establish baseline data.

An example of some indicators with data sources can be found in the MetLife Mature Market Institute report “Livable Community Indicators for Sustainable Aging in Place” (PDF).   

The following list of the eight World Health Organization livability domains includes suggestions for the types of characteristics that can be measured.

1. Outdoor spaces and buildings

A livable community has safe and accessible recreational facilities.

  • Access to parks and nature

  • Recreational facilities, such as public gyms, YMCAs or similar facilities with appropriate programming

  • The number of residents who are engaged in activities

  • An increased use of both parks and programming

2. Transportation

A livable community has safe and affordable modes of private and public transportation.

  • A variety of accessible transportation modes, such as public transit and bike paths

  • Affordable transit options

  • The availability of specialized transit services

  • The availability of safe and secure walking areas

  • A reduction in traffic and pedestrian fatalities

  • An AARP Complete Streets ordinance is in place and/or the implementation of AARP Complete Streets projects

  • Car share and bicycle share programs

3. Housing

A livable community has a wide range of housing options for older residents, the ability to age in place and other home modification programs.

  • The availability of affordable and accessible housing in a variety of housing types

  • Housing located near transit

  • Housing policies that allow for affordable dwelling units (ADUs) or similar options

  • The percentage of universally designed units

  • Median housing price for ownership or rent

  • The number, availability and affordability of assisted living or other types of facilities

  • The development of naturally occurring retirement communities (NORCs) or villages

  • The implementation or development of universal design ordinances

(Note: The first three domains can be combined to become a single, overall Built Environment domain.)

4. Social participation

A livable community provides access to leisure and cultural activities, and opportunities for older residents to participate in social and civic activities with their peers as well as with younger people.

  • The number of cultural organizations and institutions (museums, theaters, etc.) and the availability of programming

  • Financial support through government, non-profit or other types of funding

  • Libraries and associated services

  • Houses of worship

5. Respect and social inclusion

A livable community promotes ethnic and cultural diversity as well as multigenerational interaction and dialogue.

  • Age-friendly businesses that provide access to restrooms, benches or areas for resting

  • Caregiver support groups, caregiver respite programs, adult day care programs

  • The percentage of age 65+ people who live alone

The Tool Kit

Small town main street. Livable Communities.

An age-friendly community is a livable community for people of all ages. — Getty

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