After you finish the assessment process, it is time to put the data you gathered to work to provide focus and structure for your age friendly work.
Alan Lakein wrote: “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now”. Planning starts with a vision of how your age friendly effort will affect older residents. Starting an age friendly initiative is a lot of work for all of the members of the Steering Committee. Your “identity statements”, your vision and/or mission statement, will tell the world what keeps all of you working to make changes in your community.
Next, you will link the vision and/or mission statements to broad goals. How will you know that your age friendly initiative is successful? Broad goals can include things like providing transportation alternatives, increasing access to social opportunities, or creating a chore service.
After creating goals, your team needs to create specific objectives that define how your age friendly effort will achieve its goals. Objectives provide measurable milestones, specific steps that will guide you to achieve your goal.
The strategic plan should reflect community capacity as well as the preferences and values of the community and, especially, older residents. A strategic plan will not be successfully implemented if the steering committee has a goal that is not wanted by older residents or has objectives that do not follow the way older adults prefer to see the goal implemented. Data gathered during the needs assessment is key to creating a strategic plan that will result in meaningful age friendly changes.
Here are some resources to help you develop a mission statement, determine goals, and create a strategic plan.