What are Communities for a Lifetime?

Communities for a lifetime are good places to grow up and grow old, and offer physical, social and service features for residents of all ages and abilities.  Through collaborative action and strategic planning, community leaders across sectors build places that support health and vitality for residents and the community as a whole.   

Transform 2010, a joint project of Minnesota’s Department of Human Services, Board on Aging and the Department of Health, identified fostering communities for a lifetime as one of five core strategies to prepare Minnesota for a growing aging population.  According to Transform 2010, building communities for a lifetime requires leadership and civic investment in four major aspects of community.    

Assessment and planning

  • Considering the impact of local demographic trends, including the aging of the population
  • Assessing the physical, social and service assets and needs of the community 

Improvements to physical infrastructure 

  • Applying universal design principles to built environments, such as housing, parks and trails, and city streets
  • Increasing the variety and affordability of housing, including modification of existing homes and intergenerational living
  • Improving mobility through various forms of transportation, including safe and age-friendly roadways, accessible public transit, and pedestrian and wheelchair-friendly streets

Improvements to social infrastructure

  • Increasing paid and non-paid work opportunities for people of all ages and abilities
  • Improving physical and mental health and safety across the population
  • Strengthening neighborhoods, civic organizations, faith communities and other informal social networks
  • Creating opportunities for interaction between generations and among diverse groups

Improvements to service infrastructure

  • Ensuring the availability of essential community services, including primary health care, grocery stores, and pharmacies
  • Offering amenities such as parks, cultural opportunities, and a wide array of recreational options
  • Sustaining and developing supportive services that promote resident well being and independence