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1. Engage and understand

An introduction to engaging and understanding place, community engagement and political influence.

The first step on the age-friendly journey is to engage with stakeholders and older people. This key to understanding their needs and preferences as well as barriers, local priorities, and opportunities for healthy, active ageing.

Age-friendly programme cycle

Age-friendly Programme Cycle:  Engage and understand
These UK and international resources will help you to make the journey from understanding your place and engaging your community to ensuring you have the political influence you need. Simply click on the titles below to access:
Understanding place

Community Survey Questionnaire
AARP Research and AARP Livable Communities have worked together to develop a questionnaire that can be adapted by communities to help assess available resources and what residents view as important for successfully ageing in place.

The Livability Index
This website is a tool to score neighbourhoods and communities across the United States for the services and amenities that most impact the lives of people in later life. 

Future of an Ageing Population – Foresight report
Materials from the Foresight 'Future of an ageing population' project, which analysed the challenges and opportunities of an ageing society.

Here is a selection of age-friendly baseline assessments from places that are on the age-friendly journey:

Community engagement

Walk audit toolkit and leader guide
Walkable communities promote health, foster a sense of connection and community among residents, and provide an overall sense of place and belonging that helps make a neighbourhood liveable for people of all ages.

Ageing Well – an asset approach (LGA)
This handbook is for those who want to improve life for older people in their community. It introduces and explains an asset-based approach and describes how it has been used in a variety of localities.

Making Wales a nation of age-friendly communities
A guide for local communities who want to take action to become more age-friendly. Designed as a standalone tool to be used by communities across Wales, it also references useful external resources and tools.

Political influence

A good place to grow older? Practice guide for overview and scrutiny committees
This practice guide is a joint publication by the Centre for Public Scrutiny and the Ageing Well programme, run by the Local Government Association (LGA).

A good place to grow older: influencing health and wellbeing boards
This LGA publication is aimed at wellbeing members and officers involved in, or who have an interest in securing the interests of older people within the new health system.

Age-friendly places – making our community a great place to grow older
An Age UK tool to support local dialogue in communities about the importance of age friendly places.

Further resources  

Pride of Place: how councillors can improve neighbourhoods for older people

An Age UK guide for local councillors - so they can enable local people to be involved.
The AARP Pop-up Demonstration Tool Kit Examples of how and what for 'pop up' demonstration projects.
Tactical urbanism demonstration project: summary report This demonstration project allowed planners, community leaders, neighbours and individuals from throughout the Atlanta region to work together to create a community that works for people of all ages.