Countries with growing elderly populations are looking for innovative programs that enable seniors to remain in their homes and maintain a connection to their communities. In this inter-view, Mia Oberlink discusses the AdvantAge Initiative survey, which collects information di-rectly from older community residents to assess the level of age friendliness of an apartment complex, neighborhood, town, or county.
The AdvantAge Initiative survey identifies areas in the community that work well for older adults and those that need improvement to create a more age friendly environment. An age friendly environment includes walkable sidewalks, streets that are safe to cross, accessible transportation, close proximity of shops and grocery stores, age friendly housing, and commu-nity leisure facilities like parks and senior centers. Oberlink discusses how the AdvantAge Ini-tiative data help communities develop strategies that sustain older residents’ independence, al-lowing them to age in place. She describes how the data inform strategic planning to prioritize areas that need the most attention.
For seniors to remain engaged with their community, they must have access to local supports and services, volunteer or employment opportunities, and civic connections. The AvantAge Ini-tiative demonstrates a good practice that provides support to older communities by building so-cial and civic engagement and supporting seniors’ independence.