World Health Organization (WHO)

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an age-friendly community optimizes opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age.

“In an age-friendly municipality, policies, services, settings and structures support and enable people to age actively.”

The WHO broadly conceptualized these opportunities within a broad range of strategies, products, services and activities in eight “domains” or aspects of daily life as follows:

  • Outdoor Spaces and Buildings
  • Transportation
  • Housing
  • Social Participation
  • Respect and Social Inclusion
  • Civic Participation and Employment
  • Communication and Information
  • Community Support and Health Services

The following represent some examples of the principles adopted by world-wide municipalities:

  • Municipal and regional planning, with an emphasis on community and older adult input
  • Housing and other building design, particularly affordable, adaptive / accessible housing and multigenerational options
  • Social services, including meal delivery, adult day programs and caregiver support, with a focus on meeting the changing needs of frail, disabled and homebound older people
  • Transportation projects, including increased public transit and free or reduced-cost taxis and other rides, and promoting walkability and accessibility
  • Health promotion, including community activities to enhance wellness and greater access to health, mental health and home health care
  • Civic engagement efforts, including intergenerational initiatives and opportunities for meaningful volunteering and paid work that benefit people of all ages
  • Efforts to promote access to information, including an effective communication system reaching community residents of all ages and focusing on oral and printed communication accessible to older people
  • Accessible, safe and attractive outdoor spaces and public buildings
  • Opportunities for social participation with family, friends and neighbours, but also with new individuals, groups, congregations and organizations

The World Health Organization network of age-friendly communities must commit to the following

In 2008, the Master Aging Plan (MAP), a Strategic Plan for the Brantford and Brant was published by a Steering Committee.  It was developed by seniors for seniors and contains 99 recommendations.

In 2009, Implementation Recommendations were published in an effort to prioritize major activities and encourage the community to get started.

In 2010, the Grand River Council on Aging was incorporated as a non-profit organization to encourage and facilitate collaboration in order to “create a community for a lifetime”.

In 2013, an Evaluation identified major changes since publication of the first two documents.

In June 2014, the Grand River Council on Aging launched its COMPASS process to monitor the input of seniors as its points towards the Continual Improvement of the Strategic Plan (MAP) for an “age-friendly” community.

The population of individuals 55 and over is currently 41,360 or 29.1%.  In 2030, that number will rise to 59,390 or 35.2%.

This led to the two year Age Friendly Community Summit process which resulted in the 2017 Community Impact Report.