Creating Community for a Lifetime

Michigan Update, continued

Michigan Communities To Be “Certified” as Elder Friendly

Representatives from across the state heard about plans in Michigan to encourage communities to become “certified” as elder friendly at the Michigan Elder Friendly Community State Assembly held November 29 in East Lansing. To advance this effort, the day-long State Assembly hosted presentations about Michigan communities presently working to improve the quality of life for older adults.

Sponsored by the Michigan Vital Aging Think Tank and the MSU Community Vitality Program, the assembly enabled communities to network, share their experiences in planning for elder friendly communities, and learn from each other. Creating Community for a Lifetime partner Nora Barkey of the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan delivered the opening presentation.

Participants learned that a team at Michigan State University is developing a certification assessment tool that is now being tested in two communities. The draft tool outlines nine key indicators: walkability/bikeability, supportive community systems, access to health care, safety and security, housing modification and maintenance, public transportation, commerce, enrichment and inclusion.

For each indicator, the tool provides goals, a brief discussion of the significance of the indicator, and a series of questions that help communities assess their progress on the indicator, as well as a list of links and resources and short drop-in boxes that define terms, explain national guidelines, and provide helpful background information on the indicator. The Michigan Elder Friendly Communities project will be hosting a web site and newsletter in early 2006.

The featured speaker at the State Assembly, Jackie Sieppert, described the City of Calgary Elder Friendly Community Project, which has been operating since 2001. This research-based collaborative focuses on engaging older adults in leading neighborhood-based community development projects to meet the needs of local seniors (For more information, see The Calgary Experience).

Michigan Communities sharing their experiences included:

Individuals can sign up to receive the Michigan Elder Friendly Communities Project newsletter and final certification assessment tool by contacting Paul McConaughy at .

To access the 11/14/2005 draft of the Elder Friendly Community Certification Assessment Tool, go to