Age-Friendly Maple Grove - Livability For All
Maple Grove recently reached a significant milestone in this process, with completion of their 3-Year Age-Friendly Action Plan. The City is on the path to receive the age-friendly designation with its work and application of the age-friendly framework available to share with communities near and far.
What may help other communities?
Community-Driven / City-Sponsored Partnership
The Age-Friendly Maple Grove (AF-MG) initiative is a community-driven, City-sponsored partnership, which is co-chaired by City staff and Maple Grove resident of thirty years. It is a collaborative effort that includes a committee of about 20 community volunteers and representatives from health care, senior housing, senior service, non-profit organizations, and churches whose goal is to make the Maple Grove a better place to grow older and enjoy at all stages of life.
Extensive Age-Friendly Resources for Communities
The AARP Network of Age-Friendly Cities has 700 members worldwide and more than 290 communities in the nation. Both organizations provide extensive resources that offer guidelines, toolkits, checklists, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. These resources include the Global Age-Friendly Cities Guide, WHO Age-Friendly Cities Checklist, 8 Domains of Livability Resources, AARP Age-Friendly Toolkit, and AARP Age-Friendly Resource Guide.
WHO/AARP Framework – 8 Domains of Livability
The WHO/AARP has an eight domains of livability framework to organize and prioritize work that occurs within age-friendly communities. These eight domains often are interconnected and influence the quality of life and well-being of residents within a community. The domains include: 1) outdoor spaces and buildings, 2) transportation, 3) housing, 4) social participation, 5) civic participation and employment, 6) respect and social inclusion, 7) communication and information, and 8) community and health services.
Assessing Age-Friendly Needs by Involving Many
As a community in the Age-Friendly Network, one of the first steps was to assess the community’s baseline age-friendliness. Using the WHO/AARP framework, the AF-MG Committee did an assessment of the needs and wishes of older adults in Maple Grove. The assessment included input from more than 600 people through: 1) informal small group input at community events, like the Farmers Market, 2) meetings with senior service providers, as well as police, fire, and paramedics to learn about trends and opportunities for support, 3) focus groups at senior housing communities and churches, 4) an AARP phone survey of 473 residents about the age-friendliness of the city, and 5) meetings with all City Departments about integrating an age-friendly lens among functions of the City.
Analyzing Baseline Findings
The AF-MG Assessment and finding provided the base for developing the AF-MG Action Plan. The findings showed that older residents like living in Maple Grove, especially for its safety, natural areas, parks/trails, health care services, and friendly people. The assessment included in-depth information for all 8 domains. Some areas identified for further age-friendly consideration included more outdoor and indoor seating areas, additional curb cuts, indoor walking spaces, longer crossing times, making intersections safer for pedestrians, additional ADA parking spots, weight of building doors, affordable handyman services, and programs for home modifications. The areas of greatest challenge were transportation and housing options, including more affordable and single-level housing.
Age-Friendly Action Plan
In July 2018, the City adopted the 2018-2021 Age-Friendly Maple Grove Action Plan. The AF-MG Action Plan addresses policy, program/services, and built environment and includes short-term and long-term goals and actions that involve the City, nonprofits, businesses, community members, and other partners. The Action Plan includes a summary of goals for each domain with: 1) key activities needed to achieve the goals, 2) who must be involved and potential partners, 3) indicators that measure progress, and 4) the anticipated completion date for the goals. Linked here is an example of the format for a goal that included integrating age-friendly discussion into the City’s 2040 comprehensive Plan.
With the AF-MG Action Plan completed, implementation of the plan is beginning and includes the roles and responsibilities for the Year-1 Action Plan Implementation. For each area, the Year-1 action items, tasks needed, and who will lead and/or support have been identified. A budget will also be created for the Year-1 action items, although many of the action items are low or no-cost ways to better integrate planning for all ages into the community. The AF-MG Committee meets monthly and will work on the action items as well as invite new participants. Open Houses will share learnings – and encourage volunteers to contribute their talents in making the community a better place for all ages. The AF-MG Committee will provide a yearly summary of the AF-MG Action plan status to the Maple Grove City Council and a final report and evaluation at the end of the three-year Action Plan timeframe.
Maple Grove has prioritized making the City a better place to grow older as an age-friendly community. As Maple Grove’s Mayor, Mark Steffenson, indicated in the AF-MG Action Plan “When Maple Grove joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, we committed to making our city a place where residents could thrive at every stage of life—including older age.”
Awards and Recognitions
Contact the City of Maple Grove
Kris Orluck – Community Member, Age-Friendly Co-Chair, (763) 494-6514; firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Carpenter – Community Member, Age-Friendly Co-Chair, (612) 889-6557; Viksfan321@gmail.com