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Communities In Flux

Communities throughout the country are changing—and aging. Today, the number of people age 65 and older is increasing significantly across the United States. Indeed, those age 85+ are the fastest growing segment of our population. By 2030, one out of five people in America will be over 65.

Projected Groth of Persons 65 Years of Age and Older

What will this so-called "Age Boom" mean?

As they grow older, the overwhelming majority of Americans will remain in their own homes and communities. In fact, contrary to the popular perception of older adults’ relocating to retirement communities, people aged 65-85 are the least likely of any age group to move.

The rapidly growing number of older people who are "aging in place" will present new opportunities and challenges to local communities. Communities will have a larger population of vital, independent older residents who can be a source of substantial civic, social, and financial "capital". They can serve as volunteers and activists, board members and elected officials, funders and community leaders. Communities may also have to provide services to an increasing number of frail and disabled older adults, some of whom have significant health care, housing, transportation, and other needs.

The AdvantAge Initiative: Data to Information to Action

The AdvantAge Initiative is a community-building effort focused on creating vibrant and elder-friendly, or "AdvantAged," communities that are prepared to meet the needs and nurture the aspirations of older adults.

At the heart of the AdvantAge Initiative is a comprehensive survey of community-residing older adults. Consumer-derived information is integral to this project because it:

Complements the "top-down" perspectives of institutions and professionals
May challenge organizational and individual assumptions
Enables stakeholders to hear a range of community voices, engages citizens in a dialogue about aging issues, and builds support for action plans

The AdvantAge Initiative survey provides a "data snapshot" of how well seniors are currently faring in their communities. Local groups then use these survey data to help build broader awareness about aging, inform service and other planning efforts, and spur needed community-wide action in the not-for-profit, public, and private sectors.

The AdvantAge Initiative survey focuses on four key areas, or domains, where communities can make a difference in the lives of older people:

Basic needs for housing and security
Maintenance of physical and mental health
Independence for the frail, disabled, and homebound
Opportunities for social and civic engagement

Through the AdvantAge Initiative, communities strive to become better places to live, not only for older adults, but also for people of all ages.

Community-Building In Action

Working initially in ten communities around the country,
the AdvantAge Initiative:

Has surveyed older adults about how well their communities help them remain healthy, live independently, and lead productive and satisfying lives.
Has reported the survey results as measures of a community's elder-friendliness.
Is helping communities assess their current ability to meet the needs of their older residents.
Is facilitating efforts to use this information to raise awareness about aging issues and drive community planning efforts.
Is assisting community leaders in developing action plans to build more elder-friendly, or "AdvantAged," communities for today and tomorrow.

Funding Partners

The Advantage Initiative is predominantly supported by the following foundations:

Archstone Foundation
The Atlantic Philanthropies
Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The John A. Hartford Foundation
The Retirement Research Foundation
The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc.