New York was first, then Massachusetts. Colorado came next followed by Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Michigan and Maine. Each governor made the decision to join the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities.
The summaries below are accurate to when the state or territory enrolled.
In September 2018, Gov. John Hickenlooper became the third governor to enroll his state in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. The Lifelong Colorado initiative builds upon prior work by the state to convene an age-friendly task force and establish a dedicated senior advisor on aging position in the governor’s office. The initiative expands the reach of approaches that have been piloted through the Boomer Bond, which is led by the Denver Regional Council of Governments (commonly referred to as “Dr. Cog”) and supported 17 communities in their preparations for an aging population. As part of its application to join the network, the state committed to better coordinate the use of $2 billion across seven state government departments that impact older adults, to convene a statewide age-friendly summit in 2019, and to increase by 100 the number of communities joining the network by 2023. Colorado has made use of AARP Livable Communities resources in support of housing and transportation priorities. Consultations with the organization Transportation for America developed into a rural transportation conference that has resulted in a more comprehensive view by Colorado Department of Transportation staff about how to better meet the transportation needs of transit dependent rural residents. In November 2018, the AARP Colorado state office hosted the founders of the architectural and design-build firms Opticos Design and Orange Splot to discuss housing issues including the lack of affordable housing, which has become a statewide crisis that could result in a population loss.
In April 2019, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that Florida — a state with more than 5.5 million people age 60-plus — would join be joining the AARP age-friendly network. In doing so, the state brings together the work of several agencies, including the Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA), and the Florida State Department of Transportation. The John A. Hartford Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health have signed on to work with the Florida Department of Health. In addition, AARP Florida and DOEA intend to cohost an annual age-friendly sharing symposium, providing an opportunity or statewide partners to share resources and build relationships. Said DeSantis in the state’s network application letter: “Coordinating and aligning age-friendly efforts into a statewide movement represents the natural progression of grassroots work that started over 20 years ago to help foster an environment that positively impacts the health and well-being of older adults. We will promote and build on the age-friendly initiatives of the 24 Florida communities which have already earned the Age-Friendly designation, honor the diversity of communities across Florida, and ensure that the Age-Friendly designation is community-initiated, community-driven, and community-owned.”
In January 2018, Gov. Charlie Baker announced that the Commonwealth would join the network, building on the Governor’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts. Building on its collaborative history with the Massachusetts Department of Elder Affairs, the Tufts Health Plan Foundation is a major partner in the initiative. As part of its work, collectively known as the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative, the state committed to building upon local best practices for community engagement and expanding its “Community Compact” initiative to include cities and towns that implement at least one age- or dementia-friendly best practice at the local level.
- Massachusetts Signs On as a Member
- ReiMAgine Aging: Planning Together to Create an Age-Friendly Future for Massachusetts
- AARP Massachusetts
Joining the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities on October 29, 2019, Maine’s statewide enrollment underscores years of age-friendly work at the local level. (More than 65 Maine communities are already enrolled in the network.) Governor Janet T. Mills announced the enrollment in collaboration with several local partners and the state’s departments of health and human services, transportation, labor, housing, and agriculture and conservation. “Creating age-friendly, livable communities with walkable streets, safe and affordable housing, transportation and access to services will ensure that Maine people of all ages contribute to our state while living with dignity and comfort in the homes and communities they love,” said Governor Mills. “With this designation, Maine now has access to critical data, technical advice, best practices and organizing tools to help us plan for the future in a thoughtful way and learn from a global network of partners to better serve older Mainers.”
Citing the fact that Michigan’s population is aging at a rate faster than in the nation at-large, with the number of Michiganders age 60 or older growing by 50,000 each year, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer enrolled her state in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities on October 7, 2019. By doing so, Michigan will leverage funds and activities already underway through the State Advisory Council on Aging, the Michigan Mobility Challenge (that’s led by the Michigan Department of Transportation) and a Communities for a Lifetime program. Efforts will also focus on opportunities that are presented through a statewide approach for enhancing the health of older Michigan residents.
In December 2017, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced New York's enrollment in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, bringing together the state’s "Health Across All Policies" prevention initiative, led by the New York State Department of Health, and the “Livable New York" agenda,” which is led by the state's Office for the Aging and Department of State. The health agenda is focused on reducing health disparities and improving the health of all New Yorkers in five priority areas (obesity, diabetes, environmental health, mental health). The livability initiative provides technical assistance and support to communities seeking to implement Smart Growth policies and programs. Soon after joining the network, the state announced a public/private partnership for implementing the program, pairing the New York agencies with the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York and the New York Academy of Medicine. Using $1 million in state funding and as well as private investments the program will provide grant funding to one community in each of the state’s 10 Regional Economic Development Councils.
In May 2019, Gov. Albert Bryan announced the U.S. Virgin Islands' enrollment in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. An existing yet inactive commission on aging has been reactivated as the Age-Friendly Commission and is being based within the governor's office. First Lady Yolanda Bryan is serving as the spokesperson for the age-friendly initiative. AARP is bringing together local nonprofits that are working on hurricane recovery and resilience to collaborate on and inform a Virgin Islands' age-friendly action plan.
Page updated November 2019