What does it mean to be age-friendly?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says “An age-friendly city encourages active ageing by optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age. In practical terms, an age-friendly city adapts its structures and services to be accessible to and inclusive of older people with varying needs and capacities.
At the simplest level, an age-friendly city or community is one with the desire and commitment to create physical and social environments that promote healthy ageing and a good quality of life for people in older age.”
Why is it important for New Zealand to become more age-friendly?
It is expected that by 2034, New Zealand will be home to approximately 1.2 million people aged 65 and over - this represents more than one in five of us. This is a significant demographic shift for New Zealand.
In 2018 New Zealand was accepted as an affiliate member of the WHO Global Network of Age friendly Cities and Communities. Hamilton and New Plymouth have also joined the network as cities.
There are eight domains that contribute to communities becoming more age-friendly.
They include: housing, social participation, diversity and culture, transportation, civic participation and employment, outdoor spaces and buildings, community support and health services, and communication and information.