Age-Friendly Olmsted County (AFOC) is a cross-sector initiative to ensure that residents of Olmsted County have what they need to live with autonomy and dignity in all life's stages. When Olmsted County became a member of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities in January 2020, it officially joined a global movement, with roots in the World Health Organization, to help cities and communities respond to an aging population and prepare for a permanently older society.
Age-friendliness means bringing a lifespan approach to all aspects of the community. An age-friendly community is one that is safe and secure, has affordable and appropriate housing and transportation options, and offers supportive community features and services. Once in place, these resources enhance personal independence; allow residents to remain in their homes and communities as they age; and, foster residents' engagement in the community's civic, economic, and social life.
Participating communities become great places for people of all ages by adopting features such as safe, walkable streets; better housing and transportation options; access to key services; and opportunities for residents to participate in civic and community activities.
In committing to membership in the network, the Olmsted County Board asked Family Service Rochester to lead the age-friendly planning process. Family Service Rochester now convenes and facilitates AFOC planning activities and the preparation of the planning report.
The network process establishes a cycle of continuous improvement. The community assessment report is part of the planning stage. It describes the findings of a community needs assessment designed to identify the greatest needs and opportunities related to older residents in the county. The next step is to develop a three-year action plan that reflects the findings in this report.