What are Maple Grove’s transportation options for older residents who no longer drive? What services can help an older person age in place? Where are there local volunteer opportunities?
These were among many questions raised by Maple Grove residents during Age-Friendly Maple Grove’s community needs assessment. Many residents specifically requested a central place they could go to find information about local resources, and AF MG team members also observed that many people simply aren’t aware of existing program and services.
In response to this need, the AF-MG Leadership Team determined that gathering and sharing information would be an early priority. It recently launched the initiative’s first website, www.agefriendlymaplegrove, as a central community information hub for older residents.
Age-Friendly Maple Grove follows the World Health Organization/AARP framework for making communities better places to grow older. There are eight domains to address: transportation; housing; community and health services; social participation; respect and social inclusion; civic engagement; outdoor spaces and buildings, and communication and information. Where the domain topics are closely related, AF-MG combined its research and results under a single heading for easier navigation.
While the new website falls under the communication and information domain, it underlies many of the others. The heart of the site is the Services and Resources section, with a virtual catalog of useful information for older residents and their families and friends. AF-MG’s three-year action plan is also on the site as a PDF document, plus dozens of links to AF-MG reports, news articles, and upcoming community events and activities.
The extensive listings were gathered by domain committees, who conducted research and also contributed knowledge from their own professional or personal experience. New resources will be added over time based on new information and recommendations from the community. While the AF-MG Leadership Team will make every effort to verify the listings, the site makes clear that AF-MG does not endorse the included businesses and organizations and is not responsible for their actions.
Maple Grove-based Avallo Creative & Web Development designed the site with start-up funding from Maple Grove Lions Club. Avallo included a free year of tech services to support what owner Julie Hamilton says is “a very worthwhile effort.” The firm used a customized software that members of the Leadership Team can use to add or make changes, as well as respond to feedback from users. “It was very important that the new site be easy to update,” said Mark Carpenter, co-chair of AF-MG.
Ease of navigation was also a priority. While the site has a wealth of information, it is simple to move from one area to the next, and open external links without losing the site. The Leadership Team hopes the new website will help fill an important community need. It sees the site as something that will evolve over time with community input. Users are invited to share their feedback and ideas and can easily do so using the site’s Contact Us page, where people can also sign up for the AF-MG email newsletter and learn about how to get involved with initiative.
All Maple Grove residents are invited to participate in Age-Friendly Maple Grove. The Leadership Team meets at 8:30 a.m. on the second Friday of each month at the Community Center.