Vital Aging Network

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What Is a Vital Community?

toolkit_tools_header_136In a vital community people of all generations work together to find the right balance between meeting individual needs and meeting the needs of the community as a whole.

A vital community builds connections between individual strengths and community assets. Individual strengths include personal capacity, supportive relationships, engagement, productivity, physical health and wellness, and mental health. Community assets include options for housing, access to services, food and nutrition, security, health care, and quality of life.

While a vital community may be defined by a region, county, city, town or neighborhood, it may also be defined by a faith community, a collaborative group, or a force (a catalyst that brings together individuals with a common purpose to enact change).

Vital communities are intentional. To be successful, individuals, groups, and organizations must actively engage all members of the community

Understanding how well your community measures up is the first step in building a vital community. The Vital Communities Assessment (pdf) tool, developed by the Vital Aging Network, is a good place to start. The assessment helps planners measure their communities against key assets that support vital aging. The questionnaire groups the assets into three categories:

  1. Meeting basic needs for self-sufficiency
  2. Encouraging involvement in the community
  3. Promoting a high quality of life


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