equip the community

The ultimate goal of the Age Well Initiative is to help people be more aware of resources in their community – helping them be more aware of, and connected to, resources in their community. Pilot communities found that it is best to take multiple approaches.


Engage Older Adults in Learning. Equip older adults through community events and education.


Distribute and Embed Local Information. Distribute and embed local information online, in print, and through word of mouth. Make sure informational materials are accurate, helpful, and available wherever older adults seek information in the community.


Offer Dedicated Personal Navigation. It is meaningful to have a local person to talk to and a place to go – in person or by phone. Whether you build this from scratch or build on existing navigation functions in the community, make sure this resource is available for those who need it.


Create a Local Website. Consider creating a tool using the pilot site template.


Communicate your Work. Your work is stronger when it is shared. Look for local newspapers, radio shows, cable tv, church bulletins, and other opportunities to communicate your work.

Equip Action Step 1: Engage Older Adults in Learning

Contribute to local seniors’ lifelong learning by sponsoring educational events. Consider partnering with your Community Education coordinator to host events.


Dine & Discover Flyers

Clay County Age Well Virtual Education Sessions

Video of Community Education Events


What We’ve Learned:

  • One effective model is ‘Dine & Discover’ – pairing lunch with a topical presentation on an aging-related issue. Chisago Age Well’s Dine & Discover events have focused on:
    • Medicare health plan changes
    • Health care directives and planning
    • Prescription medication do’s and don’ts
    • Dementia Friendly Communities
  • Offer food, drawings for prizes, etc. to get people in the room!
  • Leverage free marketing resources like local papers, existing Community Ed catalogs and bulletins as resources for publicity, registrations, etc.
  • Consider using video conferencing technology if trying to reach remote locations with a “virtual” solution.

Equip Action Step 2: Distribute and Embed Local Information

Embed helpful printed materials in places where older adults will engage with it. This empowers other would-be navigators in your community with better information. Embed resources there.


Cuyuna Area Connections Quick Look Guide

Video of Quick Reference Guide


What We’ve Learned:

  • Determine where seniors get their information in your community – e.g. church bulletins, free newspapers, local radio, are common sources.
  • Provide information to de-facto/mini navigators. One proven option is to develop a “Quick Reference Guide” that can be used easily by service professionals, healthcare providers, first responders, clergy, and others in the community who are frequently asked to help navigate older adult.
  • In some towns, the city clerk may be a good person to distribute quick reference guides because many older people see them to pay utility bills on a regular basis.
  • Partner with other organizations that publish guides or resource directories for seniors—you may not need to develop your own.

Equip Action Step 3: Offer Dedicated Personal Navigation

There’s simply no replacement for a real, local person help who can respond to a person’s unique situation. Whether you build it from scratch or harness existing navigation capacity, it’s critical to offer and promote effective, well-connected real-person navigation.


Job description of Resource Navigator

Video on personal navigation


What We’ve Learned:

  • If there is an adequate starting point for navigation in your community, connect with and enhance those assets by supplementing and supporting their work.
  • If your community lacks local, one-on-one navigation capacity, consider a health system-embedded Community Resource Navigator.

Equip Action Step 4: Create a Local Website

If your community does not have a digital resource directory, consider creating a website using our pilot website elements.


Example of website layout

Excel spreadsheet template for resource gathering


What We’ve Learned:

  • Carefully consider existing web resources before building your own. 
  • Building and maintaining a local website takes ongoing commitment. Without dedicated support, it is difficult to keep a website current and fresh.
  • Describe resources in a way that is helpful to an average user. Avoid industry jargon, acronyms, or sweeping categorizations that assume significant baseline knowledge.
  • See the Tools available for building and maintaining a local website.

Equip Action Step 5: Communicate your Work

Your work is stronger when it is shared. Promote your events and celebrate your achievements through local media, social media, and more.


Example of Communication Plan

Link to Events Page of Clay County Age Well site

Chisago Age Well Facebook link


What We’ve Learned:

  • Develop a brand – seek to be a leader and an important ‘hub’ of information on local assets, events, and resources.
  • Leverage free marketing resources like local papers, Community Education as resources for publicity, registrations, etc.
  • Feature social opportunities – not just classes and health-focused sessions. This can be a great way to connect isolated individuals with local opportunities.

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