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Dec 7, 2021

Welcome to This Is Getting Old with your host Melissa Batchelor. I share a recent initiative I’ve been working on called the AARP / Age-Friendly Social Innovation Challenge. 

This episode is Part I: Overview of a special 10-part series related to several regional events we’ve held at the George Washington University’s Center for Aging, Health and Humanities. Learn from the outcomes of our collaborative projects with five regional age-friendly municipalities and our multi sector partners. This is the first time a region has worked together to create innovative solutions.  


Age-Friendly Cities and Communities’ started in 2007 by the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2012, AARP became an independent affiliate organization for the United States wherein they created the AARP Network of the Age-Friendly States and Communities.

There are six principles for a livable community (listed below). These include issues like affordability, equitable access, quality and choice accessibility and the ability to age in place. Health, safety and environmental sustainability, as well as holistic policymaking. 

And that's where these initiatives come in. Holistic policymaking is where all communities should seek to improve the interconnectedness for issues related to health, wellness, safety, work, education, environment and social engagement. And that's really what we've been trying to do over the past couple of years with our multi-sector partners.

Six Principles of Livable Communities include: 

  1. Affordability
  2. Equitable Access 
  3. Quality and Choice
  4. Accessibility and the ability to age in place
  5. Health, Safety, and Environmental Sustainability
  6. Holistic Policymaking - all communities should seek to improve the interconnectedness of such issues as health, wellness, safety, work, education, environment, and social engagement.

Regional Movement Towards An Age-Friendly World: 

Main Point 1:  2021 Age-Friendly Ecosystem Summit event (launched in May 2021) 

Our Regional Age-Friendly Municipality Partners include

  • Age-Friendly Alexandria
  • Jane King
  • Age-Friendly Arlington 
  • Rachel Coates 
  • Age-Friendly DC
  • Gail Kohn
  • Age-Friendly Hyattsville 
  • Marci LeFevre
  • Age-Friendly Montgomery County
  • Marcia Pruzan

Each age-friendly municipality has up to 12 domains that they can use to create an action plan (listed below). These domains include housing, transportation, outdoor spaces and buildings, health services and community support. This work has been in progress for the past decade, and more recently other age-friendly initiatives have developed. So things like the Age-Friendly Health System, Age-Friendly Public Health, Age-Friendly Universities, Age-Friendly Businesses and Employers. And here at GW, we added Age-Friendly Arts and Creativity to our Age-Friendly Ecosystem.


12 Domains of Livability for Age-Friendly Municipalities 

  1. Housing
  2. Outdoor Spaces and Buildings
  3. Transportation
  4. Communication and Information
  5. Civic Participation and Employment
  6. Respect and Social Inclusion
  7. Health Services and Community Supports
  8. Social Participation
  9. Emergency Preparedness
  10. Elder Abuse
  11. Public Safety
  12. Dementia-Friendly

5 Age-Friendly Initiatives

  1. AF Health Systems
  2. AF Public Health
  3. AF Universities
  4. AF Businesses + Employers
  5. AF Arts & Creativity 
  6. Creativity in Aging: Wendy Miller, PhD Author Sky Above Clouds and widow of founding CAHH Director, Dr. Gene Cohen
  7. See Me at the Smithsonian: Robin Marquis and Amy Castine 
  • 2021 Age-Friendly Ecosystem Summit

Goal: Raise Awareness of Age-Friendly Initiatives

2 Day Virtual Event 

  • Day 1:  Regional Leaders
  • Day 2:  Age-Friendly Municipality Best Practices

A total of 13 Podcast episodes with national age-friendly leaders will be made accessible and are publicly available on this website (and some are hyperlinked above).

Age-friendly initiatives such as health systems, public health, businesses, universities, and others have not been well integrated. Social innovation will be required to build a regional Age-Friendly Ecosystem that fosters a greater sense of inclusion through intergenerational civic engagement and public service initiatives.

For this particular initiative, we continue to work with our five Age-Friendly partners. But we also added another center at the George Washington Honey National Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service. We began to collaborate with George Washington University's Aging and Health Program.

Main Point 2: 2021 AARP/ Age-Friendly Social Innovation Challenge 

(October 2021) This is made possible due to the generous support of AARP. With 3,560 Applications Nationally; 244 Funded (6.8%)

Goals for the AARP  Social Innovation Challenge :

  1. Bring a diverse, intergenerational group of participants together for one day to design actionable strategies for how communities can be more age-friendly and 
  2. Establish a website repository of our age-friendly partners

Hyperlinks to Select Media Coverage:


During the 1 -Day Virtual Event, 126 Attendees filled the morning and afternoon sessions to come together for Design Thinking Process and generate Innovative Ideas.





  • Prior to Event


  • 2021 Age-Friendly Ecosystem Summit materials



  • 1 -Day Virtual Event: 126 Total Attendees


  • Morning Session (Invitation Only): 76 Attendees
    • Domain Breakout Groups led through Design Thinking Process to generate Innovative Ideas
  • Afternoon Session (Open to the public): 92 Attendees
    • Domain Presentations of Innovative Ideas

Main Point 3: Outcomes of Domain Breakout Results will be released through podcasts as Parts 2-10 of this special series.

  1. Overview/ Process and Outcomes
  2. Abuse, Fraud, and Neglect
  3. Civic Engagement and Employment
  4. Community Support and Health Services
  5. Emergency Preparedness and Resilience
  6. Housing
  7. Lifelong Learning, Respect and Social Inclusion
  8. Long-Term Care Workforce and Caregiving
  9. Social Participation
  10. Transportation


If you have questions, comments, or need help, please feel free to drop a one-minute audio or video clip and email it to me at, and I will get back to you by recording an answer to your question. 


About Melissa Batchelor, Ph.D., RN, FNP-BC, FGSA, FAAN:

I earned my Bachelor of Science in Nursing ('96) and Master of Science in Nursing ('00) as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) School of Nursing (SON). I genuinely enjoy working with the complex medical needs of older adults. I worked full-time for five years as FNP in geriatric primary care across many long-term care settings (skilled nursing homes, assisted living, home, and office visits), then transitioned into academic nursing in 2005, joining the faculty at UNCW SON as a lecturer. I obtained my Ph.D. in Nursing and a post-master's Certificate in Nursing Education from the Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing ('11). I then joined the faculty at Duke University School of Nursing as an Assistant Professor. My family moved to northern Virginia in 2015 and led to me joining the George Washington University (GW) School of Nursing faculty in 2018 as a (tenured) Associate Professor. I am also the Director of the GW Center for Aging, Health, and Humanities. Please find out more about my work at