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Breakout Sessions: Tuesday, November 13

2018 AARP Livable Communities National Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina

Sessions are listed in alphabetical order. The bracketed text indicates the conference track.


Advancing an Age-Friendly Public Health System

  • [Putting It Together] The public health system implements and supports the community-wide conditions necessary to make the healthy behavior the easy behavior. Yet public health has not fully embraced the age-friendly movement, despite its focus on population health. In 2017, the Trust for America's Health and the John A. Hartford Foundation convened key public health and aging experts to explore the potential contributions of public health to improve the health and well-being of older adults. Presenters will review the resultant framework in the context of the AARP Livable Communities initiative and weave together health care system, public health and community age-friendly efforts. Presenters will describe the emerging age-friendly models in health care and public health, compare these models to the age-friendly communities' model, and show how these efforts can be integrated to maximize community assets and skills and accelerate the implementation of age-friendly communities.

Are Communities Becoming More Livable? The 2018 Livability Index

  • [Putting It All Together] The AARP Livability Index is a tool that measures the aspects of community life that best support people at any life stage. The index helps community leaders and other key stakeholders identify where their strengths are and where gaps exist to create strategies that improve the quality of life for all community members. This resource is especially useful given the rapidly growing older adult population, which is expected reach more than 20 percent by 2030 and surpass the number of individuals ages 18 and younger by 2035. With the majority of older adults wanting to age in their homes and communities, today's decision makers have the opportunity to take action to meet needs of older adults and their families. In this session, experts from the AARP Public Policy Institute will present an analysis of the index's new data and demonstrate its new features. Participants will use their mobile devices to try the AARP Livability Index for their own communities.

Autonomous Vehicle Integration in the Community

  • [Putting It All Together] This session looks at recent autonomous vehicle pilots from around the country and the valuable insights gained from these deployments

Changing Culture in Age-Friendly Communities

  • [Engaging Policy Makers] Engaging elected officials, staff and community members in the work to plan and implement age-friendly policies requires that organizational cultures and community narratives evolve. Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, AARP Oregon State Director Jerry Cohen, Better Housing Together Project Lead Kaarin Knudson and Connie Saldana of the Rogue Valley Council of Governments will share their experiences putting words to action and building partnerships that support a culture of change. From the offices of elected officials to neighborhood meetings, the presenters will share their insights and strategies for pushing through culture change and encouraging its ripple effects from the top down and bottom up.

Collaborating With Nurses to Create a Culture of Health

  • [Putting it All Together] With more than 3.6 million nurses in the United States, there's an opportunity to engage members of the profession in health promotion through livability activities and leadership. This session focuses on the collaboration between AARP and the North Carolina Future of Nursing Coalition in seven communities committed to age-friendly initiatives. In addition to discussing the Future of Nursing Coalition network and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-inspired movement to create a "Culture of Health," the session will explain how the North Carolina Future of Nursing Coalition is looking to utilize nurse volunteers. Working in small groups, session attendees will convene to discuss ways to better foster a Culture of Health within communities, develop innovative strategies to recruit and deploy nurses as volunteers and leaders, and set goals that will impact policy and practice. 

Complete Streets and Vision Zero in Philadelphia

  • [Engaging Policy Makers] In 2016, Mayor Jim Kenney signed the Philadelphia Vision Zero Action Plan setting a target of zero traffic-related deaths by 2030. He also hired a Complete Streets director and the city's Vision Zero Task Force — which works with state and local government officials, community leaders and advocacy groups — is working to improve the area's road design, traffic safety education and enforcement, and overall transportation system. 

Creative Placemaking in Rural America

  • [Putting it All Together] How can placemaking help grow strong economies, support healthy, active lifestyles and strengthen rural communities in the midst of change? Rural communities face a range of issues that include a rapidly aging population, increased isolation and sprawl, a lack of transportation options, struggling local economies, and a limited capacity for development. The long-term vitality of small towns depends on finding locally-driven solutions to improve livability. This session explores how a small town in Vermont is doing that "and sparking a wave of reinvestment" thanks to a host of placemaking projects. Learn how Bethel, Vermont, is leveraging its existing assets through a recent Better Block project, pop-up shops, traffic calming measures and public art installations. The town's community-driven approach is helping to support local businesses, add local jobs, and create a positive future. The Bethel experience is a model for how traditionally urban placemaking approaches can be scaled and adapted for rural communities nationwide.

Cross-Sector Collaboration to Facilitate LGBT Culturally-Competent Real Estate Services

  • [Engaging Partners] As more than 7 million LGBT individuals reach older adulthood over the next 20 years, cross-sector collaboration will be necessary to provide LGBT-culturally competent aging in place strategies. In this session, participants will hear about innovative ollaborations between the nonprofit, public policy and real estate industry sectors to ensure that communities are able to meet the growing needs of LGBT older adults.

Cultivating Entrepreneurship in Culturally Identified Commercial Districts

  • [Engaging People] Small businesses and entrepreneurial enterprises have long played an important role in defining the fabric of communities, helping fuel local economies, leveraging walkable physical environments and inspiring innovation. The significant growth of the small business economy, particularly among women and people of color, has shown a correspondingly significant impact on commercial districts nationwide. In response to these trends, the concept of "entrepreneurial ecosystems" has emerged as a way of organizing the resources and support systems required to help entrepreneurs thrive. Successful place-based entrepreneurial ecosystems in culturally identified commercial districts promote local business ownership through equitably engaging district stakeholders and leveraging distinct cultural assets. In this session, speakers from the National Main Street Center and the Danville River District will discuss trends in entrepreneurial ecosystems and present a case study about Danville, Virginia.

Engaging Local Planners:
Lessons and Best Practices From Around the World

  • [Putting it All Together] The professionals who envision the form and future growth of communities are shifting their approach to planning in order to address the rapidly changing demographics in their communities. Yet, age-friendly advocates in many communities have difficulty engaging their local planners and helping them understand how planners can and should use the tools at their disposal (e.g. zoning codes, public planning processes) to better plan for these population shifts. This session will present findings from an international survey of planners and share best practices in planning livable communities for all ages. The session will highlight a case study the United Kingdom. Joe Micheli, head of commissioning (early intervention, prevention and community development) on the City of York Council will explain how older citizens have been active partners in the city's planning process and he'll discuss York's journey to become a genuine "asset based city."  

Expand Your Reach and Impact: Tips on Finding and Developing Volunteer Leaders

  •  [Engaging People]  Volunteers function as an extension of your team, increasing capacity and the ability to fulfill your organization’s mission. Get tips on recruiting volunteers of various skill levels to help implement your livable or age-friendly community initiatives. Learn ways to develop volunteers for future leadership roles on your volunteer team. Case studies from AARP and select community partners will showcase how recruitment and development challenges were addressed to get the “right” volunteer.

Home for a Lifetime:
The Power of Collaboration in Promoting Universal Design

  • [Putting it All Together] Learn about the innovations that enable people to make their house a home for a lifetime. This session will discuss two unique perspectives about the power of partnerships to increase homeowners’ awareness about the benefits of universal design and move them to action. The first partnership is between the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and The Hartford, an AARP-endorsed provider of home insurance. This corporate/academia collaboration includes original research that led to a multi-year public education campaign, home insurance coverage innovations, and a training program that equips home contractors to introduce and implement solutions for aging in place. The second partnership, The Dakotas Aging in Place Study, is a collaborative effort between a university extension program in North and South Dakota that explores gaps in consumer knowledge, motivation and barriers to universal design implementation. Research findings will inform the development of programming to engage people, partners and policy makers for increasing the implementation of universally designed housing in rural communities. 

How Does Cohousing Support Livable Communities?

  • [Engaging People] Cohousing presents a unique self-managed living arrangement that is intentionally designed to promote social participation and sense of community. Neighborhoods are typically comprised of about 20 to 25 units that offer a mix of privacy and community. Residents have their own homes, while sharing outside and inside spaces where they can gather. Although intergenerational cohousing has existed in the United States for a few decades now, senior cohousing is newer and represents a growing trend. 

Hurricane Maria:
Reflecting on Relationships and the Role of Community Nursing

  • [Putting it All Together] What happens to people when modern infrastructure collapses and the luxury of space and privacy transform into isolation and vulnerability? This was the case in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, which hit the island in September 2017. Electricity and the Internet went down, propane for cooking was scare, and there was no running water. This session will highlight the importance of building neighborhood connections and leveraging community nursing during an emergency. José Acarón, the state director of AARP Puerto Rico, and Gina Miranda-Diaz, a community nurse and public health director who led a relief delegation in Puerto Rico, will share their first-hand experience and lessons learned. The workshop will discuss opportunities for incorporating community nursing strategies and nurse leadership so neighborhoods are better prepared to mobilize diverse partnerships, build trusted relationships and navigate a patchwork of local resources when a crisis strikes.

Lean Livability: Making Lovable Places for $500 or Less

  • [Putting it All Together] Making big changes doesn't always require millions of dollars and years of time. This session presents more than 50 ways — each costing less than $500 —communities can inject a “Little Bit of Happy” and create places people love. Attendees who want to help implement some lean livability solutions in Charlotte can do so at a location near the hotel. (See Mobile Workshop #7.) 

Leveraging Utilities and Livable Communities Advocacy

  • [Engaging Policymakers] AARP is fighting across the country to ensure that residential electric and natural gas utility rates are just and reasonable. This session will help participants assess ways to incorporate utilities-related advocacy work into their livability efforts (and vice versa) to achieve successful advocacy outcomes. Participants will learn about the multi-state framework of AARP's campaign for affordable utilities and how AARP state offices are leveraging their work in this important issue area.

Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper: Changing Your Built Environment to Increase Livability and Investment

  • [Putting It All Together] Tactical urbanism or demonstration projects are great ways to test the viability of long-range plans and investments in a community. Private/public partnerships (P3) formed in Bismarck, North Dakota, to test elements of downtown master plans and transportation initiatives have increased livability for the community. Whether it's a temporary bike lane, brightly painted crosswalks or parklets, or making road improvements with lane configurations, Bismarck is applying a tactical urbanism style of community development. (A Bismarck P3 received a 2017 AARP Community Challenge Grant for a pop-up pathway project.) This session will cover do's and don'ts, best practices and ideas for how to transform a community on a budget.  

Livable Communities and the Ethnic and Racial Disparities Intersection

  • [Putting it All Together] The panel will discuss how AARP New York and AARP Michigan are drawing critical attention to key disparities affecting older New Yorkers and Michiganders, especially within communities of color. The session will take a deep dive into this work and policy recommendations with an audience Q and A about how addressing racial and ethnic disparities can be incorporated into livability work in an ongoing effort to make communities of color more livable and age-friendly with livability features and access to critical services.

Livable Communities in Rural America:
Challenges, Opportunities and Solutions

  • [Putting it All Together] Rural communities and small towns face unique challenges and opportunities when working to become more livable. In this session AARP leaders and partners from Oklahoma and South Dakota explore rural issues and the practical solutions they're developing in their communities. Come prepared to ask questions, share experiences and take home resources and ideas.  

Rural Transportation:
Engaging Philanthropy, Local Providers and Promising Partners

  • [Engaging Partners] Rural America is home to one in four older Americans, where access to services such as health care and transportation can be difficult, and aging in place can be particularly challenging. Although local programs are working to provide necessary services, budgetary and regulatory challenges are paramount. Learn how Grantmakers in Aging, the Maricopa Association of Governments and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society at the University of California Berkeley brought together stakeholders to learn from different perspectives, explore technology opportunities, and forge new partnerships to strengthen rural transportation programs. 

So You Need to Write an Action Plan?

  • [Putting it All Together] Are you ready to take the leap and begin crafting an Age-Friendly Action Plan for your community? Great! Now what? In this session, directors from Age-Friendly Boston, Age-Friendly Columbus and Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh share tips and tricks about the process and lessons they learned the hard way. The session will address the planning phase (how to engage residents, policy makers and other community partners) and the writing phase (where to start as you outline, pen, edit, design and gather feedback). The discussion will address how to launch an action plan once it's published. Learn what to do and what not to do from colleagues who have been there. Participants will be invited to ask questions, share unique challenges and brainstorm solutions.

Strategic Partnerships:
The Strength of Age-Friendly Communities and Universities

  • [Engaging Partners] This session will explore the transition of Age-Friendly Columbus from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission to the Ohio State University College of Social Work. The decision process, influencing factors, major strengths and innovations in implementation will be outlined. Specific examples of student internships, research and interdisciplinary projects will be detailed.

Transportation Momentum: How to Keep it Moving

  • [Putting it All Together] Representatives who engage in planning, designing and delivering innovative transportation solutions for older adults will discuss the successes, barriers and pitfalls involved in facilitating mobility solutions for older adults. Panelists represent private and nonprofit perspectives from three Colorado counties, each a member of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. Panelists will share their experiences in conducting a community needs assessment, effectively engaging older adults in designing transportation solutions, and creatively providing safe, affordable transportation.

Volunteers Can Put It All Together!

  • [Putting it All Together] The development of livable communities throughout the country often depends on the involvement of highly responsible and committed AARP volunteers. Such individuals take on responsibilities that require the capacity to influence others to become involved and act with some degree of autonomy and flexibility. This session will share a guide AARP developed to illustrate volunteer four roles: the community volunteers who coordinate events and outreach; the livable community issue experts; the community volunteer leaders who head planning efforts; and statewide volunteer leaders. Four volunteers will discuss their work in these varying roles, their relevant prior experience, the ways they ensure a collaborative approach, the methods they use for completing their tasks, their time commitments and lessons learned.

Video Premier: Lifelong Housing Across Generations

  • [Putting it All Together] Mike Sylvester, who has physical disabilities, his wife, Beth, and her parents, share a home and an accessory dwelling unit (ADU). The "lifelong housing" amenities contained in both homes make it possible for Beth to work full-time while her parents assist with Mike's care. Interviews with the family, the home designer, the mayor of Fayetteville, Arkansas, and a representative of AARP Arkansas appear in the film and relate the family's story to the need for more lifelong housing throughout the United States. Three breakout groups will focus on how to best use the video to educate individuals, community partners and policymakers about the need for lifelong housing. The groups will report back and the results will be compiled into a guide for communities to use with the video.

2018 AARP Livable Communities National Conference 

To return to the main conference page, visit or bookmark: AARP.org/Livable2018

  • Find information and materials from our prior conferences:
    20172016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013
A red pin marks Charlotte, North Carolina, site of the 2018 AARP Livable Communities National Conference

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