The age-friendly movement

Global age-friendly cities project

The Age-Friendly Cities Project is an international effort by the World Health Organization (WHO) to help cities prepare for two major demographic trends: aging of populations and urbanization.

This project resulted in the development of the Global age-friendly cities: A guide PDF icon which helps engage cities to become more age-friendly and to tap the potential that older people represent for society.

The WHO maintains leadership for the Age-Friendly Cities Project, working with multiple partners (including, non-government organizations, government bodies, and the academic and private sector) to support and guide the development of age-friendly cities based on the Global Age-Friendly Cities: A Guide.

To support cities wishing to follow the age-friendly approach, and to ensure the quality of the tools and interventions they use, WHO has now established the WHO global network of age-friendly cities and communities.

The network serves as a mechanism to link cities and communities, and to ensure that the label "Age-friendly city and community" reflects a common global understanding.

Federal/provincial/territorial age-friendly rural/remote communities project

Many Canadian seniors live in rural and remote communities. In Alberta, more than 60,000 people aged 65 years and older live in rural areas. Canada’s Age-Friendly Rural and Remote Communities Initiative was developed using the model and research framework of the Global Age-Friendly Cities Project that was applied to rural and remote communities.

In September 2006, the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Seniors endorsed the Age-Friendly Rural/Remote Communities Initiative, with two main objectives:

  • To increase awareness of what seniors need to maintain active, healthy and productive lives by identifying indicators of age-friendly rural or remote communities; and 
  • To produce a practical guide that rural and remote communities across Canada can use to identify common barriers, and to foster dialogue and action that supports the development of age-friendly communities.

This work resulted in the Age-friendly rural and remote communities: A guide PDF icon which provides communities with a starting point to identify common barriers and assets in their communities, and foster discussions and actions that support the development of rural and remote age-friendly communities.

Both the Global Age-Friendly Cities guide and the Age-Friendly Rural and Remote Communities guide support the new vision of healthy aging in Healthy aging in Canada: A new vision, a vital investment, from evidence to action – A background paper PDF icon.