— By David Lewellen Every year on a Saturday in late fall, about 150 volunteers fan out in the Milwaukee suburb of Shorewood on a mission to clean up the yards of older residents. Volunteers from churches, Scout troops and school groups rake leaves, put away patio furniture and do whatever else is needed to help 35 households get ready for winter. “We try to meet and connect with as many of the people as we can,” said Emma Boehm, a …

— By Laura Mecoy Michael Achkar thought he had the perfect solution when he built a small house for his father in the backyard of his Capitola home. Then Achkar encountered one of the many challenges Californians face as the state seeks to expand housing: Connecting the separate unit to a water supply would cost more than $24,000 for fees and the installation of a new meter—requirements of his local water district, which has serious supply issues. Because of the high …

— Age-friendly communities in Maine outnumber those in any other state. Old Orchard Beach, Stonington, Raymond and Jackman recently joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, bringing Maine’s total to 45 cities and towns. In each place, local officials, businesses, nonprofit groups and residents are collaborating to adopt practices that can make their community more livable at any age. Bowdoinham, for example, created the Handy Brigade, a cadre of volunteers who do simple home repairs for free. In Augusta, a resident …

— The Tar Heel State has mountains, a seaside and a renowned research hub. In addition, communities across the state are taking steps to become more age-friendly. More than 2.5 million North Carolinians live in areas that have joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities. The AARP state office wants to increase that number to 5 million by 2020. U.S. Census projections show 1 in 5 North Carolinians will be 65 or older by 2035. Communities that join the network commit …

— By Sheila O. Schimpf Online is where almost everybody wants to be these days. But in Michigan, not everybody can get there. Last year, more than 380,000 state households were not wired to have high-speed internet access, known as broadband. “Absolutely we need more broadband,” said Eric Frederick, a vice president at Connected Nation and Connect Michigan, nonprofits that advocate for broadband expansion. Those lacking high-speed access are “mostly in rural areas, outside of small towns,” he said. The Legislature …

— Fishers, a suburb of Indianapolis, has been officially designated the state’s first age-friendly community. A city of about 90,000 people, Fishers is one of 191 localities nationwide that have joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities. City officials have committed to address older residents’ needs in areas such as housing, transportation, health care and social inclusion. AARP will continue to work with city officials and residents to develop a master plan for improvements. To learn what makes a city or …

— Do you want to help your community become increasingly age-friendly? Are you interested in advocacy for Social Security, Medicare, pedestrian safety, transportation or other aging issues? Would you like to learn how to shoot photos and videos for Facebook and Twitter? AARP Hawaii is recruiting enthusiastic volunteers who are eager to learn communications and advocacy skills to share information about issues affecting Hawaii residents 50 and older. Orientation sessions for new volunteers are scheduled Wednesday, Jan. 10, 9:30-11:30 a.m., in …

— AARP Texas is helping residents of the Linwood neighborhood in Fort Worth revitalize their urban community. The Better Block project engages community members in a two- to three-month planning process, which culminates in a weeklong collaborative effort to improve a city block physically or economically. In Linwood, the project is bringing to fruition residents’ ideas for solar lighting, traffic calming and pedestrian crosswalks. The project demonstrates AARP’s commitment to livable, age-friendly communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Built in the …

— A new traffic circle in Shawnee is designed to calm congestion at the busy intersection of West Burns Street and North Chapman Avenue. “Traffic circles can improve traffic flow and promote public safety,” said Sean Voskuhl, AARP state director. “We all deserve to be able to safely cross the street.” Completed in November, the traffic circle was funded in part by an AARP Community Challenge grant. It was one of 1,200 community improvement project proposals submitted to AARP nationwide and …

— AARP New York was joined December 14 by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, and New York State Office for the Aging Deputy Director John Cochran to announce that New York is the first state in the nation to join the AARP-World Health Organization Age-Friendly Network. The event at New York City’s Senior Planet Exploration Center included the presentation to Lieutenant Governor Hochul of a certificate recognizing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s written commitment …