Feb 12, 2018

How Nurses Can Help Create Age-Friendly Communities

”The AARP Network of age-friendly communities is an affiliate of the world health organization’s global network of age-friendly cities and communities, an international effort launched in 2006 to help cities prepare for their own and the world’s growing population of older adults and the parallel trend of urbanization.” -AARP


Nurses can help create age-friendly communities by being mindful of the 8 domains of livability: 

1. Outdoor Spaces and Building
• Advocate for rating parks based on “ease” level
• Help develop playground equipment designed for gentle exercise for older adults
• Request that all public restroom stalls be equiped with grab bars

2. Transportation
• Keep transportation in mind when developing health management plans
• Know the availability of community resources
• Ask patients about their ability to get to and from appointments
• Ensure immediate transportation needs are met despite conflicting policies that might make that difficult (like same day wait-lists)
• Create a “transportation broker” role in practice to help patients navigate complicated transportation needs

3. Housing
• Create a “Medical Accompaniment” role to reduce readmissions
• Have Medical Accompaniment nurse to do home safety checks (offer training as CEU)

4. Social Participation
• Create volunteer programs for mentoring
• Trade “life skills” with younger partners (ie. trade cooking skills for computer skills)

5. Respect and Social Inclusion
• Educate family members in memory matters
• Speak directly to the patient, not the family caregiver
• Encourage self-advocacy
• Teach compassion
• Talk about online safety (identity theft, cyber crimes, and romance scams)

6. Civic Participation and Employment
• Work with faith-based organizations for outreach

7. Communication and Information
• Develop partnerships with senior centers
• Meet with older adults on recreational activities (“Education on the Road”)

8. Community and Health Services
• Job shadow and mentoring for Home Health Aides
• Volunteer with coordinators
• Be knowledgeable about community resources
• Talk to older adults about sexuality

Want to get involved in nursing initiatives throughout Michigan? Join the Michigan Nursing Action Coalition at miactioncoalition.org.