Exploring "Domains of
Age-Friendly" Communities:
Respect and Social Inclusion

As NJ begins its efforts to become an Age-Friendly state, an aspect of the “Domains of Age-Friendly" communities will be explored in each NJAAW newsletter. In this issue, we’re covering Respect and Social Inclusion.
The issue of social isolation and its impact on the health of both individuals and communities has been discussed for years. No matter their age, everyone wants to feel valued and included.

Older adults might struggle to stay included in their communities as they age; friends and family move away, or they are not as mobile as they once were.

Connecting with new neighbors in a different phase of life is challenging. Long-time residents may find it hard to connect to the community they love and helped build over years of involvement. As things continue to re-open from COVID disruptions and favorite events resume, consider making sure events are age-friendly using these simple guidelines. Notice these steps are also COVID-friendly!

  • Promotional Materials – Not all residents have access to or use the internet. Consider asking local newspapers to include your information in their publications. (Be sure to check what their deadlines for submission are.) Post flyers in libraries, community centers and on public bulletin boards. Communicate the age-friendly considerations you have put in place for your event!

  • Cost – Cost can be a big determinant for event attendance, especially if older residents stay for only a portion of the time. By offering a discount for seniors, you could see an increase in the number of attendees.

  • Time of Event – Events that are held after dark are less likely to be attended by older residents who may find driving and walking in the dark challenging. Boost attendance to weekday events by marketing to your retired residents.

  • Volunteers – Older residents are excellent volunteers! Tap into your volunteer network by asking for them in your event’s promotional materials and advertisements. Consider volunteer roles that don’t require extended periods of standing.

  • Transportation – This can be the biggest limiting factor for older residents attending your event. Careful consideration should be given to parking and getting those needing assistance from parking to the event. Jitneys and/or golf carts may be an option.

  • Inclusion – Consider a “hospitality tent” for seniors and find ways to pair older residents with younger residents. Craft and game areas are a great age-friendly way to encourage inclusion.

  • Food Options – When planning for food, consider including “heart-healthy" options. This isn’t just good for seniors, but for all attendees, especially parents looking for a healthier option for their kids.

Have examples of successful age-friendly efforts to share? Email us!