Age-Friendly Communities

Making Wales a nation of age-friendly communities

Wales is a nation of communities, varying in size, nature and geography. Age-Friendly Communities will meet the needs of older people, and people of all ages, in each individual community by responding directly to their needs. Such communities will encourage and enable older people to engage with their surroundings and continue to engage socially within those communities, thereby maintaining their health, independence and wellbeing.

The concept of Age-Friendly Cities was launched in 2007 with the publication of the Global Age-Friendly Cities Guide by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Guide identified eight domains of city life that might influence the health and wellbeing of older people: outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation; housing; social participation; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; communication and information; and community support and health services.

In practice, an Age-Friendly community is one where local people have decided their priorities to better support people as they age. This can include physical design, promoting better access and mobility, promoting people’s social engagement and developing support and relationships between the generations. The most important aspect is that it is an integrated approach to thinking about the places where people live and how best to promote older people’s wellbeing and engagement with their physical and social environments.

The Age-Friendly cities concept was refreshed in 2013, under the Irish Presidency of the European Union, when the Dublin Declaration on Age-Friendly Cities and Communities was launched. The Dublin Declaration shows a city or community’s pledge to become ‘Age-Friendly’ using the eight WHO domains as a framework for development. Each city or community will have to demonstrate a process of consultation with older people (and other age groups), planning, implementation and evaluation to become part of the WHO Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities.

As part of the process for Wales to be recognised as an Age-Friendly Nation, all 22 of Wales’ Local Authorities have signed up to the Dublin Declaration; a true achievement for Wales, showing real commitment at local levels to creating communities that are inclusive and supportive for all, regardless of their age.