Sarasota County, which has Florida’s highest percentage of residents 85 and older (4.8 percent), was the first Florida community to join the AARP network. It has completed its network mandate community survey
“Everybody wants this to be a success” in making Sarasota an age-friendly community, said Kathy Black, a gerontology professor at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. “Creating an age-friendly community will involve all of us to play a part: people, government, nonprofits and business.”
Launched with public and private partners, Age-Friendly Sarasota has been using partnership resources to better understand how to create a community for all ages.
Black is proud of a Sarasota County resolution last year that encourages builders to participate in a universal design program. That means constructing homes with features such as door frames wide enough for wheelchairs, entrances without steps, and door levers instead of knobs to help people with arthritis or other physical difficulties. Builders receive a certification seal and may qualify for fast-track permitting.