Age Friendly Ventures introduces new online tool with candid crowd-sourced reviews of communities to help retirees
• New research reveals two out of 3 retirees did not do in-depth research to determine where to live in retirement
• Surprisingly, research reveals that friends did not make the top of the list of factors that influenced a decision of where to retire; the top 3 were family (65 percent), general livability (36 percent) and desired weather conditions (32 percent)
• Three out of 4 retirees indicated that they would find a tool helpful – a new online community at agefriendly.com is now available to help Americans over 50 tap the crowd for answers about places to live, work and get care
January 10, 2019 – Continuing its mission to make aging easier and enable older Americans to be more engaged in their communities, Age Friendly Ventures today announced the launch of Age Friendly Advisor (agefriendly.com). The site is a first-of-its-kind online platform with user-influenced age friendly scores for every neighborhood in America. It features user-contributed reviews, research, and helpful content for people making important decisions on how and where to age. Recognizing the challenges faced by mature adults to seek, find, and settle in communities that meet their needs, agefriendly.com highlights age friendly places worldwide: communities and workplaces that are forward-thinking, and which have shown they welcome and support baby boomers and seniors.
“When managed well, user-contributed reviews reveal an extraordinary wisdom of the crowd,” said Tim Driver, CEO and Founder of Age Friendly Ventures. “Just as consumers read and give product reviews on Amazon; restaurant and hotel ratings on Yelp and TripAdvisor, Americans can now go to agefriendly.com to read and publish crowd-sourced reviews tackling complicated topics around aging.” Advice perceived by peers as valuable is ‘upvoted’ so that it more visible and actionable. Community reviews are supplemented with in-person, telephone and online help from a staff of professional advisors.
“Navigating one’s later years is often extremely complex for both older people and their families. Where we choose to live in retirement is a defining feature of how well we will live in older age. Seeking the right advice, at the right time, is a crucial part of planning life tomorrow.” said Joseph F. Coughlin, Ph.D., founder and Director of the AgeLab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Enabling Individuals to Engage More Easily With Their Community
Many older adults are unaware of resources available to help them stay socially engaged. Age Friendly Advisor makes it easier for people to find age friendly places and services for three purposes:
• Everyday living: this section provides a way for older adults to connect with resources, engage with each other, and communicate with their city or town.
• Caregiving: this section supports people who want to age in place and stay connected to their communities.
• Working/volunteering: this section connects people to age friendly employers, including employee reviews and job postings.
Age Friendly Advisor’s ratings reflect how well communities are supporting their older residents and visitors, and steps being taken to improve. Age Friendly Advisor blends user-furnished reviews with externally-sourced data to identify, and regularly update, a community score. There is a page for every town in the U.S., plus London, England with more international cities to be added. Reviews may be posted to any of these town pages and are initially concentrated in northeastern United States.
Accelerating the Age Friendly Movement
Over more than ten years, the UN’s World Health Organization has built substantial international momentum around its designation of age friendly cities. There are now more than 700 worldwide. States including Massachusetts, New York, and Colorado also have earned age friendly status. Popular career site RetirementJobs.com, with its 1.3 million job seeker members nationwide, has operated the widely-recognized Certified Age Friendly Employers program since 2006. Age Friendly Advisor will accelerate this momentum in the cities and employment categories, and explore others.
To design, operate and grow Age Friendly Advisor, Age Friendly Ventures is collaborating with research and academic partners which share its commitment to serving the 50+ population and their families. Age Friendly Advisor’s ratings incorporate data contributed by the Milken Institute in addition to other externally available sources such as the U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics. Age Friendly Advisor is also undertaking research with Boston College and other private research organizations to further examine questions around the business case for older workers.
Industry giants MassMutual, Home Instead Senior Care and Benchmark Senior Living have joined Age Friendly Advisor as premier Corporate Founding Sponsors. “Today’s retirees need to plan for a long journey of living their life to the fullest and anything we can do to help them secure their future is embedded in our DNA at MassMutual,” said Mike Fanning, head of MassMutual US. “It’s a natural fit for us to join with Age Friendly Ventures on a mission to help make aging easier by opening access to honest, candid insights that may otherwise not be easy to tap into.”
Age Friendly Advisor launches through the combined efforts of 75 people. Members of the management team include industry veterans and data product development experts bringing a broad set of skills to the organization:
• CEO Tim Driver served as Employment Committee Co-Chair for Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s Council to Address Aging. In 2017, he was named a national Top 50 ‘Influencer in Aging by PBS’s ‘Next Avenue’.
• Before joining Age Friendly Ventures, Product Marketing Vice President Daniel McCullough helped lead AARP’s digital membership acquisition efforts.
• Care Management Vice President Charlene Neu is a Gerontologist and member of the Aging Life Care Association.
• Research & Employer Certification Vice President Amanda Henshon holds a JD from Harvard Law School, MA from Yale University and has experience in a large corporate law firm.