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The Program Cycle - AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities Skip to content

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The Program Cycle

The work toward age-friendly livability involves a continuous 5-year process of improvement

The Steps in the 5-Year Age-Friendly Community Process

Members of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities program commit to improving their age-friendliness and submit to a rigorous membership assessment cycle. Being an age-friendly community requires a commitment to a five-year cycle of continuous improvements. 


Communities interested in joining the network can find the membership application and related information on the Join the Network page. Questions can be addressed to the applicant's AARP state office and/or by emailing

Year 1:  Conduct a Survey and Listening Sessions

In order to improve the community for older adults and people of all ages an age-friendly community needs to assess the communities needs. AARP provides a survey template (available in English and Spanish) that can be adapted to local needs. Links to surveys conducted by AARP and and others can be found for several of the communities on The Member List. A free guide to conducting community listening sessions is part of our Roadmap to Livability workbook series.

Year 2: Create an Action Plan

This phase has four key elements:

1. The establishment of mechanisms to involve older people throughout the age-friendly community cycle

2. A baseline survey or assessment of the community’s age-friendliness

3. The development of a three-year community-wide action plan based on the assessment

4. The identification of indicators for monitoring progress

5. This phase is completed when an action plan is submitted to the World Health Organization for review and endorsement.

Examples of action plans can be found within The Member List. Action planning guidance can be found on the Age-Friendly Resources page.

Years 3-5: Implementation

Upon endorsement and recommendation to the World Health Organization by AARP, a community begins a three-year period of implementation. At the end of this period the community is required to submit a progress report to AARP outlining its progress against the indicators developed in the action plan. Examples of progress reports can be found within The Member List.

Year 5+: Progress and a Status Update

At this point a community is able to continue its membership by entering into further planning, implementation and evaluation cycles.

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