Already have an account? Sign In
A temporary password has been sent to your email:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Age-Friendly Institute Launches AgeFriendly.org
WALTHAM, Mass. - June 14, 2021 - The Age-Friendly Institute today announced the launch of AgeFriendly.org, a website and brand designed to capture the voices of older adults and provide authoritative direction and unbiased reviews for individuals and families on age-friendly solutions. Currently, there are over 40,000 reviews and ratings from older adults about communities in the United States. In the future, there will be versions of AgeFriendly.org for other countries, in a variety of different languages.
The term ‘age-friendly’ is well-established in professional circles. It describes environments that promote access to options, services and opportunities for people as they age, and that promote the inclusion and participation of older adults in all aspects of life. Experts have used the term “age-friendly” for the last fifteen years to describe and assess successful approaches to improving quality outcomes for older adults in cities, workplaces, homes and healthcare settings, and Google Trends reveals increasing adoption of the term in U.S. households as well.
"AgeFriendly.org has been the missing element," said Terry Fulmer, President of The John A. Hartford Foundation. “Now there is a scalable means for gathering ongoing feedback from older adults themselves. It’s critical information coming from the true source - older adults - to match existing rubrics for what is age-friendly.” The John A. Hartford Foundation last week announced a $1.5 million grant to the Age-Friendly Institute to support the development of an Age-Friendly Ecosystem by creating a digital hub and partnerships with stakeholders involved in the movements to make health systems, public health systems, cities, universities and employers more age-friendly.
"AgeFriendly.org is focused on leveraging established measures and crowd-sourced data to help people make better decisions. And it’s about accelerating a movement," said Tim Driver, President of The Age-Friendly Institute. “Older adults can now more easily speak for themselves. We’re fortunate to be able to leverage member databases with over 1.3 million older adults across America.”
Health care and how to pay for it are among the top concerns for older Americans. The Age-Friendly Institute has chosen SelectQuote as its Partner to help older adults coordinate their choices. SelectQuote is a leading provider of online comparison shopping and expert advice via its agent team and technology, which will be integrated into AgeFriendly.org. “We are committed to making sure older adults receive the best Medicare plan to meet their needs through our one-on-one conversations and proactive outreach,” said Tim Danker, Chief Executive Office of SelectQuote. “I look forward to working with the Age-Friendly Institute to make sure that older adults' needs are met through our services.”
The Age-Friendly Institute’s operating team includes Alice Bonner, PhD, RN, FAAN, the former Secretary of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs for Massachusetts. Bonner is also a Senior Advisor at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. Institute President Tim Driver’s background includes operating digital media and services organizations aimed at the needs of older adults. The Institute’s Executive Director is Jody Shue, MPH, who has worked in media and led Age-Friendly Rhode Island. Shue is also an instructor at Boston University’s School of Public Health.
The Age-Friendly Institute also operates the Certified Age Friendly Employer (CAFE) Program, which has designated employers as age-friendly since 2006. In 2021, with people able and more willing to work longer, especially remotely, and with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs on the rise, the CAFE program is on pace to double in size.
About The Age-Friendly Institute
Founded in 2019, the Age-Friendly Institute (institute.agefriendly.org) aggregates and elevates all things age-friendly. It harnesses the voices of older adults through its website created for and with older adults: AgeFriendly.org. This platform addresses the confusing landscape for families and individuals on how and where to find vetted programs and solutions for older adults. It combines expert-developed systems for establishing what is age-friendly with reviews, ratings and comments from individuals. Through its research and events, the Institute encourages cross-sector collaboration among aging services organizations. The Age-Friendly Institute, formerly known as The Age-Friendly Foundation, also operates the Certified Age Friendly Employer (CAFE) program.
For Age-Friendly Institute
WALTHAM, Mass., September 17, 2019 – AgeFriendly.org, the pioneering site launched earlier this year where users help produce an age friendly score for every city in America, has released its list of the Top 25 Best Places To Retire. The list showcases the towns and cities that enable older Americans to most easily stay in their community. After gathering tens of thousands of reviews, Silver Spring, Md. has topped the list.
“We sought to build an innovative, technology-driven platform that would allow users to provide their feedback directly—and in real-time,” said Tim Driver, the Founder and CEO of the site’s parent company, Age Friendly Ventures. “The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and we congratulate Silver Spring and the state of Maryland for their collective approach to solving the challenges facing older Americans. This survey will get even more refined as we gather more reviews, not unlike the way review sites like TripAdvisor have evolved over time”.
Silver Spring, Maryland landed the top spot with an overall score of 4.53 stars out of 5, primarily driven by its strong rankings in education, transportation, and general livability, which includes items like weather and cost of living. Residents cited “easy transportation,” the fact that it’s “very diverse,” has “colleges and universities nearby,” and that Silver Spring “has a big elderly population with lots of activities for them.”
Long-time Silver Spring resident Marc Bloom, age 62, agreed with the assessment: "Silver Spring has been an excellent place to age. It has universities nearby, ample public transportation with metro and bus lines, and top-tier care facilities. I couldn't imagine a better place to retire."
Other notable inclusions in the Top 25 Best Places To Retire list include Boston, Mass.; New York, N.Y.; Raleigh, N.C.; New Orleans, La.; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; and Atlanta, Ga.
How To Tell What Towns Are Best Places To Retire
Users of AgeFriendly.org (agefriendly.org) can view and submit reviews on how “age friendly” their town is across different categories. These are mapped to the official domains established by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO’s Age Friendly Cities program now boasts more than 1,000 age friendly cities worldwide. Reviews submitted to agefriendly.org are combined with third party data on categories such as cost of living and transportation to provide a final score for each town or city. There are over 29,000 rated communities on the site currently, and there are plans to expand the site internationally. AgeFriendly.org uses many of the same data sources as other “Best Places To Retire” lists, but has a unique categorization method and incorporates user feedback of towns and cities to contribute to a full picture of what aging there is like.
Crowd-Sourced Reviews Make It Easier for Policy Makers in Aging
“Factoring in the opinions of people who live in a town has always been a critical part of the designation process,” says Dr. Alexandre Kalache, who led the creation of the Age Friendly Cities program while heading the World Health Organization’s global program on aging. “What we lacked until now was the capability for ongoing tracking of residents’ sentiments as well as the ability to collect comments on a large scale. This has been a missing ingredient.”
It is not only cities that are becoming designated as age friendly. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts took the step of becoming designated as an age friendly state. This was fueled in part by the state leadership’s objective of making Massachusetts the most age friendly state and to spur innovation, establishing it as the “Silicon Valley for innovation in aging.” Governor Charlie Baker convened a Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts, whose work began with statewide listening sessions so policy makers could hear directly from residents about their needs. With the help of AgeFriendly.org (agefriendly.org), policy makers at all levels of government in any state or locality can now supplement such face-to-face efforts by listening online to, and communicating back with, residents about their needs as older adults.
Selecting where to live in one’s later years requires careful consideration about finances as well as what types of housing options are available.
“It’s gratifying to see so many towns and cities stepping up to strengthen their resources for aging residents,” remarks Mike Fanning, head of MassMutual US. “Many of today’s retirees are looking to live their later years the way they’ve envisioned them, and being able to view real-time reviews by members of various communities can not only help them see whether or not a community can support that vision, but whether or not their financial picture aligns with it, as well.”
“Our conversations with Baby Boomers have revealed that they’re developing, in many ways, an entirely new set of expectations when it comes to living in their later years,” says Tom Grape, founder and CEO of Benchmark. “We are excited to be at the forefront of rolling out highly desirable, urban solutions for the 55+ population in a number of locations on the Top 25 Best Places to Retire list!”.
Age Friendly Ventures introduces online tool with candid crowd-sourced reviews of communities to help retirees.
WALTHAM, Mass., January 10, 2019 – Continuing its mission to make aging easier and enable older Americans to be more engaged in their communities, Age Friendly Ventures today announced the launch of AgeFriendly.org (agefriendly.org). The site is a first-of-its-kind online platform with user-influenced, age-friendly scores for every neighborhood in America among other services. It features user-contributed reviews, research, and helpful content for people making important decisions on how and where to age. Recognizing the challenges faced by mature adults to seek, find, and settle in communities that meet their needs, agefriendly.org crowdsources reviews for age-friendly places worldwide: communities and workplaces that are forward-thinking and which have shown they welcome and support baby boomers and seniors.
“When managed well, user-contributed reviews reveal an extraordinary wisdom of the crowd,” said Tim Driver, CEO and Founder of Age Friendly Ventures. “Just as consumers read and give product reviews on Amazon and restaurant and hotel ratings on Yelp and TripAdvisor, Americans can now go to agefriendly.org to read and publish crowdsourced reviews tackling complicated topics around aging.” Advice perceived by peers as valuable is ‘upvoted’ so that it is more visible and actionable. Community reviews are supplemented with in-person, telephone and online help from a staff of professional advisors.
“Navigating one’s later years is often extremely complex for both older people and their families. Where we choose to live in retirement is a defining feature of how well we will live in older age. Seeking the right advice, at the right time, is a crucial part of planning life tomorrow.” said Joseph F. Coughlin, Ph.D., founder and Director of the AgeLab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
"Providing more information to more people in an accessible way is always a good thing. As someone who encourages working longer for a secure retirement, it's great to see a centralized resource for older job seekers,” said Alicia Munnell, who is the Peter F. Drucker Professor of Management Sciences at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management. Munnell also serves as the director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
Enabling Individuals to Engage More Easily With Their Community
Many older adults are unaware of resources available to help them stay socially engaged. AgeFriendly.org makes it easier for people to find age friendly places and services for three purposes:
AgeFriendly.org’s ratings reflect how well communities are supporting their older residents and visitors, and steps being taken to improve relationships. AgeFriendly.org blends user-furnished reviews with externally sourced data to identify, and regularly update, a community score. There is a page for every town in the United States, plus London, England, with more international cities to be added. Reviews may be posted to any of these town pages and are initially concentrated in northeastern United States.
Accelerating the Age Friendly Movement
Over more than 10 years, the U.N. World Health Organization has built substantial international momentum around its designation of age-friendly cities. There are now more than 700 worldwide. States, including Massachusetts, New York, and Colorado, also have earned age-friendly status. Popular career site RetirementJobs.com, with its 1.3 million job seeker members nationwide, has operated the widely recognized Certified Age Friendly Employers program since 2006. AgeFriendly.org will accelerate this momentum in the cities and employment categories, and explore others.
Data from Leading Organizations Addressing Needs of Aging Americans
To design, operate and grow AgeFriendly.org, Age Friendly Ventures is collaborating with research and academic partners that share its commitment to serving the age 50+ population and their families. AgeFriendly.org’s ratings incorporate data contributed by the Milken Institute in addition to other externally available sources, such as the U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics. AgeFriendly.org is also undertaking research with Boston College and other private research organizations to further examine questions around the business case for older workers.
Corporate Founding Sponsors
Industry giants MassMutual, Home Instead Senior Care and Benchmark Senior Living, have joined AgeFriendly.org as premier Corporate Founding Sponsors. “Today’s retirees need to plan for a long journey of living their life to the fullest and anything we can do to help them secure their future is embedded in our DNA at MassMutual,” said Mike Fanning, head of MassMutual US. “It’s a natural fit for us to join with Age Friendly Ventures on a mission to help make aging easier by opening access to honest, candid insights that may otherwise not be easy to tap into.”
Age Friendly Ventures surveyed more than 700 members age 70+ online in December 2018. For more details on the "How Did You Decide Where to Retire?" survey, please see this post on the AgeFriendly.org site.
About Age Friendly Ventures
Founded in 2005, Waltham, MA-based Age Friendly Ventures is the parent company for three affiliated, mission-driven, online divisions whose common purpose is making aging easier. Age Friendly Ventures addresses the engagement, income, care, and living needs of 108 million Americans aged 50+:
For more information visit agefriendly.org. Follow us on Twitter: @AgeFriendlyAdv
Tags: #retirement #aging #ageing #seniorliving #housing #boomers #technology #aginginplace #seniorhousing #healthyaging #relocate #healthycities #caregiving #retirementjobs
Twitter: @AgeFriendlyAdv @BenchmarkSL @homeinstead @josephcoughlin @MassMutual @RetirementRsrch @WHO