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Sioux Falls Named to Prestigious Network of Age-Friendly Communities

Mar 07, 2019

Sioux Falls Named to Prestigious Network  of Age-Friendly Communities

Sioux Falls is the newest member of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities—the first South Dakota community to earn the honor.

As a member, Sioux Falls gains access to global resources and information on age-friendly best practices, models of assessment and implementation, and the experiences of towns and cities around the world.

The Age-Friendly Network was launched in 2012 and operates under the auspices of thePicture of Mayor Paul TenHaken, Public Health Director Jill Franken, Public Health Prevention Coordinator Mary Michaels and AARP State Director Erik Gaikowski World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Program. Its purpose is to help participating communities become great places for people of all ages by adopting features such as safe, walkable streets; better housing and transportation options; access to key services; and opportunities for residents to participate in civic and community activities.

“Well-designed, livable communities promote well-being, sustain economic growth, and make for happier, healthier residents of all ages,” said AARP South Dakota State Director Erik Gaikowski. “By becoming part of the network, Sioux Falls is making a commitment to do even more to improve livability in the city and involve older residents in the process.”

“We couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity,” said Mayor Paul TenHaken. “AARP’s eight domains of livability align perfectly with my administration’s focus on issues such as accessible housing, transportation, workforce, public health, and safety as well as engaging residents of all ages in projects that enhance the vitality and diversity of our community.”

The Sioux Falls Health Department, through its Live Well Sioux Falls initiative, was proud to work with the Mayor's office on achieving this designation.

“We know that the places where we live, work, learn and play can affect our mental and physical well-being," said Public Health Director Jill Franken. "In fact, research continues to show that our zip code may be more important than our genetic code when it comes to our health. Everyone has a role to play in positively impacting the health of Sioux Falls and the health of our residents, no matter their age. Neighborhoods, schools, churches, health care facilities and employers are intricately tied to individual and community health.”

Participating communities in the Age-Friendly Network commit to improving their livability through an assessment of needs, development of an action plan, implementation of new projects and programs, and ongoing assessment. The livability indicators are planned, implemented, and progress assessed in three phases over a five-year period with continued cycles of assessment and improvement thereafter.

Nationwide, three states and more than 330 communities have received the Age-Friendly designation from AARP. Learn more at or