AARP Age-Friendly Community


In October 2019, the City of Orlando joined the AARP network of Age-Friendly Communities. As a member of the network, we have committed to conducting a community assessment to determine our city’s age-friendliness, to develop an action plan based on its findings and implement age-friendly initiatives.

Our first step is to engage the community through a comprehensive survey. With this survey, we are looking to hear from residents aged 45+ on what recommendations and improvements they would like to see in order to make the city more age-friendly.

As the population of our city and nation ages and residents are living healthier, more active and longer lives, it’s important we create a well-designed, livable community which promotes health and sustain economic growth, therefore creating happier and healthier residents of all ages. AARP Age-Friendly initiatives focus on areas of:

  • transportation
  • housing 
  • outdoor spaces and buildings
  • social participation
  • respect and social inclusion
  • civic participation and employment
  • community support and health services
  • communication and information


What is the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States & Communities?
The AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities is the United States affiliate of the World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Program, an international effort launched in 2006 to help cities prepare for rapid population aging and the parallel trend of urbanization. The program has participating communities in more than 20 nations, as well as 10 affiliates representing more than 1,000 communities.

The AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities serves as a catalyst to educate, encourage, promote and recognize improvements that make communities supportive for residents of all ages. The network provides cities, towns, counties and states throughout the U.S. with the resources to become more age-friendly by tapping into national and global research, planning models and best practices. 

As the population of the United States ages and people live healthier, more active and longer lives, communities must adapt. Well-designed, livable communities promote health and sustain economic growth, and they make for happier, healthier residents — of all ages. As of January 2020, there were over 430 members including the State of Florida and Orlando.

What is the AARP's Role in the Process?
AARP's participation in the program advances efforts to help people live easily and comfortably in their homes and communities as they age. AARP’s presence encourages older adults to take a more active role in their communities and have their voices heard.  Initiatives focus on areas such as housing, caregiving, community engagement, volunteering, social inclusion and combating isolation among older citizens.

AARP works with local officials and partner organizations around the country to identify communities for membership in the Age-Friendly Network. AARP facilitates the community's enrollment and guides its representatives through the network’s implementation and assessment process.

Combined with the resources provided by AARP, the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities program supports AARP's goal of being recognized by elected officials and others as a leading resource for how to improve the livability of communities for people age 50+ and their families.

The program emphasizes both the built and the social environment, and helps refine what it means for AARP to have a community presence. The AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities program is a tool that can be used by AARP staff and others to help local leaders prepare and ultimately change their communities to become great places for everyone to live.

What are the Benefits of Membership?
Members of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities become part of a global network of communities that are committed to giving their older residents the opportunity to live rewarding, productive and safe lives. The benefits of membership include:

  • Access to a global network of participating communities, as well as aging and civil society experts.
  • Access to key information about the program, such as the latest news and information about best practices, events, results, challenges and new initiatives.
  • Opportunities for partnerships with other cities, both domestic and international.
  • Mentoring and peer-review evaluation by member cities.
  • Public recognition of the community’s commitment to become more age-friendly.
  • Speaking engagements at conferences and events hosted by AARP and promotion through AARP’s media channels.

What are the Components of the Assessment & Action Plan Process?
Members of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities program commit to improving their age-friendliness, as well as a rigorous assessment cycle. Being an age-friendly community requires a commitment to a five-year cycle of continuous improvements.

Year 1:  Conduct a Survey and Community Engagement

In order to improve the community for older adults and people of all ages, an age-friendly community needs to assess the communities’ needs. The first step is the age-friendly livability survey that will be augmented by listening sessions. Other community engagement opportunities, including forums and workshops, will be integrated throughout the process.

Year 2:  Create an Action Plan

This phase of the process includes four key components.

  • The establishment of mechanisms to involve older people throughout the age-friendly community cycle.
  • A baseline survey or assessment of the community’s age-friendliness.
  • The development of a three-year community-wide action plan based on the assessment.
  • The identification of indicators for monitoring progress.

This phase is completed when an action plan is submitted to the World Health Organization for review and endorsement.

Years 3-5: Implementation

Upon endorsement and recommendation to the World Health Organization by AARP, a community begins a three-year period of implementation. At the end of this period the community is required to submit a progress report to AARP outlining its progress against the indicators developed in the action plan.

Year 5+: Progress and a Status Update

At this point a community is able to continue its membership by entering into further planning, implementation and evaluation cycles.

Who will be Guiding the Process?
The Mayor’s Committee on Livability and Healthy Aging has been tasked with providing the city with a guiding hand in the development of Orlando’s first Age-Friendly Action Plan. Committee members include representatives from various community non-profit organizations, businesses, and institutions who are subject area experts in various fields related to aging, including the Senior Resource Alliance (Area Agency on Aging), Senior’s First, Inc., AARP, the Orlando Senior Health Network, Advent Health, and the University of Central Florida, as well as community residents/activists.

More specifically, the committee will provide invaluable input throughout the two-year community engagement and planning process as we assess our community and delve into a series of livability issues including accessibility and functionality of outdoor spaces & buildings, transportation, housing, social participation, respect & social inclusion, civic participation & employment, communication & information, as well as community & health services, all with a special focus on seniors.

The result of all that work will be an Age-Friendly Action Plan that will provide policy and program recommendations for the Mayor and City Council to consider in addressing the above-mentioned subject areas.  The Action Plan will also include recommendations for building and strengthening partnerships as we recognize that city government cannot necessarily do everything by itself – we need our entire community engaged – after all, we are all getting older and we need to take care of each other. 


  • AARP’s Community Challenge Grant program is intended to make communities more livable for people of all ages with improvements to public spaces, transportation, housing, coronavirus recovery, diversity and inclusion, and other actions that jump-start long-term change.
  • Orlando applied for and was chosen as a recipient of the $20,000 “quick-action” grant to implement the “Tables of Connection” project.
  • The “Tables of Connection” project was one of 243 total grant recipients chosen from more than 3,000 applicants.
  • The grant funded the purchase and installation of the wheelchair-accessible, solar-operated table and shade structure in Prince Hall Park and Willows Park.  These parks were chosen because they are in neighborhoods whose residents had less access to broadband service compared to the average resident in the City of Orlando.
  • In addition, demographic information for both neighborhoods indicate a high number of children and older adults. The tables provide a unique amenity that can be enjoyed by both generations.
  • Outfitted with Wi-Fi hotspots and charging stations, each table connects residents to the internet, charges up to four wireless devices and powers four laptops at once.
  • Rated for 175 mph winds, each table provides critical services to residents after a storm or other natural disaster, allowing people to charge their phones, call loved ones, restore services and receive emergency information during a power outage.
  • Local artists Peterson Guerrier and German Lemus painted the concrete pads where the tables are located, bringing unique art to each park.
  • The project creatively combines art and technology to advance Orlando’s Future Ready Master Plan as well as the Livable Orlando: An Age-Friendly Initiative.


Click here to watch a short video about the Tables of Connection.

Summary of Grant Project 

  • The AARP Community Challenge Grant program is designed to make communities more livable for people of all ages.  
  • Grants range from $2,500 to $50,000 in several categories including placemaking, transportation, and housing. 
  • Orlando was awarded a $10,000 grant in the housing category, specifically pertaining to accessory dwelling units, or ADUs.  
  • Orlando’s ADU Education & Outreach Campaign was designed to raise awareness of ADUs in a variety of multicultural settings, creating a more user-friendly permitting experience for people wishing to build an ADU for intergenerational family members. 
  • The campaign implemented not only the city’s housing policies, but also the recently approved Livable Orlando: An Age-Friendly Action Plan 2022-2025


During the June 28, 2023 to November 30, 2023 grant period, city staff:
  • Successfully conducted pre-program interviews with homeowners and residents in multicultural communities; prepared ADU educational brochures that translate City Code regulation into easy-to-understand, customer-friendly language with visuals (both in English & Spanish); greatly enhanced web-based content to explain the ‘what’, ‘why’, and ‘how’ of developing and ADU in the City of Orlando with an emphasis on aging in place (please visit to view this content); conducted six community educational sessions throughout the city with an emphasis on multicultural neighborhoods; and performed outreach to professionals including those representing financial institutions, real estate agents, elder services providers and non-profits, city advisory boards, and other civic groups. 

  • As part of our initial outreach, eleven in-depth interviews with homeowners, residents, and a general contractor were conducted. Of the ten (10) homeowners/residents interviewed, five (5) built an ADU or were in the process of building one, two (2) built an addition (not an ADU), and three (3) considered building an ADU but ultimately chose not to do so. Generally, people wanted to better understand the differences between an ADU and a home addition, the development process, the value of Universal Design features/practices, and they wanted more of a focus on financials particularly for aging parents. These interviews allowed us to tailor our brochures and web-based content, as well as our presentations. 

  • Of the six ADU community educational events, five were in-person while the sixth was virtual using the Zoom platform. Our goal was to reach a total of 180 people with an average of 30 people per event. Our overall attendance was 253 people, with 227 reached at in-person events and 26 at our virtual event, for an average of 42 people per event. From a geographical perspective, we were able to do events in several multicultural settings including the Grand Avenue Neighborhood Center which is in a predominantly African-American area, the Beardall Senior Center in the heart of downtown Orlando, and the Dover Shores Community Center which is an area with a high percentage of Hispanic residents. We were able to distribute our newly created ADU brochures at each event.  Additional brochures have been distributed to throughout the city at recreation and senior centers. 

  • In terms of raising awareness, our ADU project was featured in an Orlando Sentinel interview and article (July 4, 2023) and a WESH-2 television interview and story (June 28, 2023). We also provided ADU presentations to our Municipal Planning Board, Mayor’s Committee on Livability & Healthy Aging, and Affordable Housing Advisory Committee. In addition, we provided ADU presentations to the APA Florida – Orlando Metro Section as part of a panel of Central Florida governments (webinar), at the Florida Council on Aging annual conference, and the AARP-sponsored Housing Roundtable with the Tampa/Orlando Business Journal (OBJ) – “Affordable Housing Table of Experts: A Discussion on Accessory Dwelling Units and How They Expand Housing Options for People of All Ages”.  This discussion was later featured in an OBJ article (November 14, 2023). 

ADU Presentations

The following PowerPoint presentations were provided to the public and to city advisory boards.

Virtual Workshop - AARP Grant, ADU Education and Outreach(PDF, 9MB)

Municipal Planning Board presentation - AARP Grant, ADU Education and Outreach(PDF, 9MB)

Want to Learn More?

Please visit our Accessory Dwelling Unit Web Guide to learn more.


The Livable Orlando Age-Friendly Action Plan is our community's blueprint to make Orlando the best city to live and age well. This action plan details 25 specific goals and 89 specific action items the city will take in partnership with other organizations to become even more age-friendly. The Orlando City Council reviewed the draft plan document at their August 15, 2022 workshop, and accepted the plan on September 12, 2022.

We are proud to announce that the Livable Orlando plan won the 2023 American Planning Association (APA) Florida Award of Excellence in the Innovation in Planning for all Ages category (awarded at APA Florida's state conference in Jacksonville, September 2023).

Livable Orlando Age-Friendly Action Plan(PDF, 16MB)

Livable Orlando Age-Friendly Action Plan Appendices (PDF, 10MB)

Livable Orlando 2023 Year End Report(PDF, 1MB)